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Would you be surprised to know that you use technology already in everyday life? It comes in the form of devices to alert us:
Care technology describes a range of products or services that help people to remain safe, independent and in control. Care technology can be used to support adults in a number of ways:
Care technology comes under the umbrella term of ‘Technology Enabled Care’ which encompasses assistive technology, telecare, telehealth and telemedicine.
There is a wide range of care technology available, these include:
If a person has a high risk of falls, then a falls sensor supports them to get help when they need it. The sensor picks up impact and a change in position, especially if the person is lying down for a while. These can be worn as a pendant around the neck, on a person’s wrist like a watch, or clipped onto a belt.
Alternatively, a sensor can be fitted to detect if a person has got out of a chair, or if they have not returned to bed after they have left it for a while. This won’t prevent a fall, but it does help to make sure that someone is safe in their bed or chair. The sensor makes sure that if a person has had a fall, they won’t be lying on the floor injured for a long time.
Support for people who are living with dementia
Losing the ability to remember how to carry out certain tasks can be worrying and frightening to all concerned. Technology can also be used to prompt a person to complete daily tasks, such as taking their medication.
Technology can be used to track a person’s location in case they go out and may become lost. It can also detect whether a person has fallen and send an alert for help.
Having smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors or flood sensors linked to a careline provides reassurance that fire, carbon monoxide or flooding will be immediately detected and alerted to a monitoring centre, who will raise an alarm with the emergency services.
You may find it useful to arrange to have a Safe and Well visit from a member of the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. To contact them please telephone 0800 038 2323 or see the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service website.
Support for carers
Caring for someone can be tiring and stressful. Technology can help. For example, sensors can alert you when a person has got up from the chair or bed, or when they have left their home. Technology may help a carer if the person they are caring for has left the home and become lost.
There are also more advanced technology systems that can be installed into the home. These work by placing small, discreet sensors around the rooms in the home. These can monitor changes in temperature and specific activities such as whether the front door is left open for a period of time.
Since April 2020 we have been working with our selected partner Argenti to offer a care technology service. The Argenti team sits within Dorset Council working closely with colleagues, including Occupational Therapists in the Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Team to deliver personalised service for people living in Dorset.
You can contact our Adult Access Team or your keyworker at Dorset Council to discuss what may be available to support you. Dorset Council and Argenti will support a person who is eligible for support. Everyone’s needs are different and the Adult Access team will be able to advise you. If appropriate they will raise a referral to Argenti who will arrange for a trained Assessor to assess you or your family member in your home environment.
If you feel that you would benefit from care technology and would like the Council to carry out a formal assessment of your needs for care and support, please contact our Adult Access Team:
In addition to the services provided by Dorset Council, Argenti also offers a care technology service for self-funders which is designed to maximize independence, boost confidence and reassure loved ones. This chargeable service is particularly aimed at people in Dorset who are planning to manage their own needs for as long as they can. People can buy it for themselves, a friend or a relative.
Have a look at the Care Technology House which can help you identify useful care technology to meet your needs.
Technology can also be used to help monitor health needs. A person can record some of their own daily vital signs and pass this information via a smart phone app to a central point supported by qualified nurses or health professionals who can interpret the data. This way the person can understand how their condition affects their body and staff are alerted if an intervention is needed.
In Dorset, this is funded by the Dorset NHS Clinical Commissioning Group at the Telehealth Hub in Poole. The conditions supported through this program are Cardiac Failure (heart failure) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Patients can take their pulse rate, blood pressure, temperature, weight and oxygen update (oxygen saturation) by using small devices that link to the Telehealth Hub on a daily basis if someone needs a change to their medication or a new medication the specialist nurses can arrange this immediately. Speak to your GP if you feel this could help you.
The following information provides advice on the different types of technology that can support people inside and outside of their homes. More information on the suppliers you can buy this technology from directly, including Argenti, are listed on our directory. View the directory here
If the person is falling frequently consider whether a falls detector linked to a careline may assist. Detectors can pick up the impact and a change in position from a fall, especially if the person is lying down for a while.
If someone has memory loss, poor mobility and is at risk of falls during the day consider a chair-leaving sensor to alert a carer. A bed-leaving sensor can be set to detect if a person hasn’t returned to bed after they have left it for a while. This won’t prevent a fall but will mean the fall is detected and avoid a person who may be injured lying on the floor for a long time. Sensors can be linked to a pager to alert the carer and to the 24-hour monitoring centre.
It is a good idea to remove and/or reposition items in the home that could cause a fall. This includes rugs, ripped stair carpets, trailing cables and leads, and any unnecessary clutter. Broken safety items, such as banister rails, should be replaced.
Also, consider the following:
If you are worried about falls for yourself or a loved one, we would advise you to speak to your GP so that any medical reasons can be ruled out. Your GP can refer a person to physiotherapy and/or occupational therapists.
Technology can support many people both inside and outside their home. GPS (satellite navigation) trackers can be suitable for someone with early, moderate or severe dementia. Some questions to think about are:
Some devices can send an alert directly back to a mobile phone or computer/tablet to alert if support is needed outside of the home.
Some of the devices can also prompt the person as well, for example, to alert them to take their medication if they are out and about. These devices can be linked to a 24-hour monitoring service or linked straight to a smart mobile phone held by the carer or family to alert them.
There are many more GPS trackers out on the market. Suppliers you can buy this technology from directly, including Argenti, are listed on our directory. View our directory. In addition, many of the mobile phone providers are starting to offer GPS tracker technology alongside their traditional phone device, so you may prefer to check with those providers as well.
Often you can take basic practical steps to prompt and support a person with early memory loss, such as using laminated signs for reminders and chalkboards with calendars nearby to remind them of important appointments. Often these practical and cheap solutions are very effective in providing support initially.
There are many technological devices that can support a carer by providing them with an alert. For example, if the person gets up in the night and the carer sleeps in another room, consider items such as a bed-leaving sensor that would alert if the person who is likely to fall, got out of bed.
If a carer is worried about leaving the person at home, it may be helpful to look for a careline that will enable them to call for help in an emergency and contact the carer. A careline can be linked to several sensors at a time. When the alarm is activated, either manually or via an automatic device, an adviser will speak to the person to establish what kind of help they need, before taking appropriate action. This could include contacting someone the person has assigned as a responder (a local family member, neighbour or friend) to visit and check that they are all right. If necessary, the adviser will contact the emergency services.
If the person likes to go out for a walk there are devices to support them. See our section above on ‘Technology to support people who are living with dementia’.
If a carer does not live nearby or wants to be reassured that the person is managing at home, there are technology systems that can help to monitor a variety of activities.
More information on the suppliers you can buy this technology from directly, including Argenti, are listed on our directory. View our directory.
Contact us if you would like to talk to someone about equipment and technology.