Safe at Home Project Improves Care Levels for People With Dementia and Brings Council Equivalent Sav

From: Tunstall
Published: Mon Nov 21 2005

21 November 2005 - A new report on Northamptonshire County Council's pioneering Safe at Home project has praised the effectiveness of telecare and assistive technology in supporting the independence of people with dementia.

The Safe at Home project has enabled people with dementia to remain independent for longer, receiving the care and support they need in their own homes through the use of assistive technology, and has brought the local agencies in Northamptonshire equivalent savings of over £1.5 million over the 21 months during which research took place

A group of people with dementia were given assistive technology appropriate to their needs and a comparator group with similar age and gender profiles was established in Essex.

The report highlights how by integrating assistive technology solutions into existing care provision, four times as many individuals were able to remain living independently in their own homes over the research fieldwork period.

The technology provided valuable help and reassurance for people with dementia and their carers in Northamptonshire. Carers reported feeling less stressed as a result of the use of technology and to some improvements in the well-being of those who were being cared for were reported.

Though the project has used technology from a number of manufacturers, Tunstall's range of telecare solutions have helped the Safe at Home project to safely manage risks associated with the use of gas appliances and to enable help to be provided quickly and efficiently should a fire occur. The project has also successfully used technology to monitor room temperature and activate heating controls remotely to ensure individuals do not suffer from hypothermia in the winter months.

Emerging from ideas developed from the EU-funded ASTRID project that was led by Northamptonshire County Council, Safe at Home began as a small-scale project in 2000, and an initial evaluation published in 2002 provided evidence that supported a decision to expand the project. A second evaluation of this larger project was undertaken from June 2002 to March 2004, and involved 233 individuals and their carers. The study aimed to assess the reliability of the assistive technology used, the extent to which it supported unpaid carers, the extent to which it supported the independence of people with dementia and the cost effectiveness of the technology.

One carer involved in the project commented that: "It means I no longer need to visit my mother four to five times a day and night to check on her safety. Now my visits are more social."

The report referred to in this press release is Safe at Home - the Effectiveness of Assistive Technology in Supporting the Independence of People with Dementia by John Woolham. (2005) Copies are available from Hawker Publications (London) on 020-7720-2108.

The project involved the Lifeline 4000+ from Tunstall, an intelligent home response unit enabling response centres to deliver enhanced levels of service and care to support vulnerable members of the community. An easy to use home hub supporting a comprehensive range of telecare services, the Lifeline 4000+ connects with up to 35 smart sensors detecting intruders, inactivity, carbon monoxide, smoke, floods and falls and other potential risks to support independent living and provide reassurance and additional support to carers.

The home unit can be used to raise an alarm call from anywhere in the home by simply pressing the radio trigger, or the large illuminated red button on the unit. Calls are received at the dedicated 24 hour response centre, where the appropriate action can be taken whether it be calling a local key holder, family member, doctor, carer or the emergency services.

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