Remote health monitoring is an increasingly important way of keeping people well. Measuring their vital signs using technological innovations means health professionals can manage people’s health conditions while enabling them to stay in their own living environment.
It can reduce the number of visits to hospitals and GP surgeries for those who need regular check-ups. Their travel time and costs are less, and they have the reassurance of knowing their medical team can see how they’re doing and will act if issues arise.
It’s also now helping people stay safely in their own home following a hospital stay. For some patients, it’s a much better option than being cared for either temporarily in a care home or through an extended hospital stay.
And it can help care home residents avoid becoming seriously ill by spotting changes in their health early, making them easier to treat.
- MiiCare: 21 installations in private homes
- Whzan Blue Box: 101 installations in care homes
Below, you can read about the ways we’re using remote monitoring to keep people well in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK).
The virtual assistant helping keep people safe and at home for longer
People whose care needs are being assessed after leaving hospital could find themselves receiving the support of a new friend called ‘Monica’.
Monica is a virtual assistant – the voice of a remote monitoring device that checks a person’s wellbeing and daily routines to help them stay safe and well.
Technology company MiiCare has partnered with Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (BLMK ICB) and Luton Borough Council to provide the support for people who are at risk of falls or urinary tract (water) infections. The device is also available for those who have recently left stroke or neurological units. Healthcare professionals involved in the person’s care can refer them for the service if appropriate.
Monica acts as a health coach, using carefully placed sensors to register if a person has not lifted a cup to drink, or picked up their medication when needed. Her prompts and encouragement to look after themselves can help people avoid infections and hospital stays.
Monica also includes door sensors, which can alert family members and carers when a door is left open, send them SOS messages if help is needed, and provide healthcare professionals with information about the person’s day-to-day life.
The technology not only provides reassurance for the patient and their family members, but also means the person can stay in their own home. That’s better for them, and also reduces the pressure on the care system, enabling services to provide care where it’s most needed.
Read this article about how MiiCare is helping people to stay safely in their own homes.
What the families say:
“Thanks to the MiiCare app I have assurance at my fingertips! Monica provides me with a real-time picture of where my mother is, and sends me alerts when activity is outside of her normal routines. I am able to easily check her blood pressure (when required by her GP frailty checks), her temperature if she seems unwell, and whether she has taken her tablets. I would undoubtedly recommend MiiCare, as this little box has taken away some of the worry, without removing my mother’s sense of self or independence.” – ‘Karen’ (not her real name), whose mother uses MiiCare. Read Karen’s full story in this case study.
Spotting health issues early in care home residents
Knowing exactly how well or ill a person is at any one time can be difficult – but care homes in BLMK are now able to monitor the health of residents much more closely, thanks to a user-friendly system.
The Whzan Blue Box contains everything needed to enable staff to make regular health checks on their residents. Being able to see early signs of things changing means they can alert clinical colleagues before the person becomes so unwell they need hospital care.
Measurements such as heart rate, blood oxygen levels, temperature and blood pressure can be taken with the kit, which is also used by our partners in community support teams and ambulance services. An additional feature of the system is that it works out the National Early Warning Score (NEWS2) – the method used to check if someone who is already ill is becoming worse.
The remote monitoring system can send the resident’s test results straight to their GP if the practice is set up to receive them, helping to speed up diagnosis and care.
It also tells care home staff what a resident’s results mean – staff don’t need to be medically trained to understand the information.
By nipping health issues in the bud in this way, fewer ambulances need to be called and residents are less likely to have to stay in hospital. Care homes also benefit by using their resources more effectively as they don’t need extra staff to care for sick residents.
Felicity Cox, Chief Executive of NHS Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board has recorded a series of podcasts beginning with a conversation on…the increasing developments of digital innovations in healthcare, including Whzan Blue Box. You can listen to all podcasts on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
You can also read how Whzan Blue Box is making a difference at Oasis House in Bedford.
Find out how Burlington Hall care home and its residents are benefiting from the innovations available through the Digitising Social Care programme, including Whzan Blue Box.
What our care services say:
“The Whzan Blue Box speaks for residents who can’t talk. It’s a really useful tool for any care home to have and gives us the help we need for our residents much more quickly.” – Sylvester Mulenga, Senior Carer at Oasis House Residential Home, Bedford
“We’ve recently started using the Whzan Blue Box, and it’s already coming in handy and proving successful. When one gentleman wasn’t feeling well, we were able to give the National Early Warning Score to his GP, who then attended.” – Helen Butler, Manager, Community Alarm Service
What residents say:
“It is like a like modern nurse in a residential home. It allows information to be passed on quickly to other healthcare professionals if further treatment is required.”
“If I was to have a fall, I know the seniors would use the Whzan kit to check that I was okay and that there was nothing wrong. It has done previously, and will continue, to give me peace of mind in knowing that I am okay.”- JG, resident at Burlington Hall Care Home for over eight years
You can find out more about what we’re doing by clicking on each of the links below. For more information on the programme, or any of our projects, please email the team.