Environmental Monitoring

This category, often referred to as telecare, represents a very wide range of technologies with just one common theme: an ability to monitor and protect humans. As a result telecare offers an almost limitless range of options in order to tailor it specifically to an individual carer’s or user’s needs.

The principal benefit to a carer is to reduce the amount of monitoring they need to do of the person they care for. An extreme example is of a child, one of whose parents needed always to sleep with them to respond immediately to a fit. In the case of this example the immediate benefit is an increase in quality of life as the carer no longer needs to be in the same room as the person cared for; this clearly benefits the person cared for too as they have some privacy. A similar example is early warning of enuresis, to avoid broken skin and subsequent ulcers. In other cases it can provide peace of mind to enable a carer to continue working, offering huge benefits both in financial and emotional terms.

Case Study
Niki and Matthew

“My husband, Matthew, has a progressive genetic disorder called myotonic dystrophy. His symptoms started in his mid twenties, but in the last couple of years things have deteriorated. I am his sole carer and he can’t be left on his own, or leave the house, very easily. This situation wasn’t part of our life plan, but technology allows me to keep working in IT and gives Matthew some choice in his day. We have a monitoring system of cameras and motion sensors that alerts me to his movement on my phone. I can have a look and see if he’s just turning over or if he needs something. It allows me to be downstairs and work in the kitchen knowing that he’s ok upstairs. I can also pop out for a pint of milk now, whereas before I never knew if I was going to find him in a heap on the floor covered in blood. The system helps to manage my stress levels and enables me to work, which would be very difficult if we didn’t have it. We also have a video door system that goes to our phones. This allows him to see who’s at the door, but also talk to them if it’s someone he knows and tell them to come in around the back. If he doesn’t want to see someone, it gives him some autonomy and choice, which means a lot as 99% of his day is out of his control.”

Activities of daily living monitoring

A particularly valuable form of environmental monitoring is what is called activities of daily living monitoring (ADLs). These two videos describe how ADL monitoring enables a carer to keep an eye on their loved one from a distance, the first covers daily activities, the second monitoring at night and care-worker visits.

This video explains how ADL monitoring can be used by a commissioner to decide on what type of service is appropriate for someone who is frail. This video covers commissioning for dementia.

Note that there are many other suppliers of ADL equipment too, including:

Other providers of telecare service include:

  • 11healthdelivers ostomy alerts
  • Alcove: “pioneering independent living”
  • Buddi: the “go anywhere, anytime personal emergency response service”
  • Callalert: “24/7 Help at the touch of a button”
  • Caretech: “24 hr help when you need it”
  • Caring Cloud: “help your loved one remain confident and independent at home”
  • Chubb: a significant telecare supplier
  • Doro: easy to use mobile phones
  • Easylink: “assistive technologies to enable independent living”
  • Monitorgo: “like a pendant but works everywhere and does much more”
  • MySOSfamily”Turn any phone into a personal safety device”
  • Oysta: “Comprehensive 24-hour support for vulnerable people”
  • Possum: assisted living services particularly appropriate for those with limited movement/dexterity
  • Sirona: “helps people who wish to stay independent and in their own home”

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