New technology helping people to stay safely in their own homes

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20 people in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are being helped to live safely in their own homes, thanks to an innovative wireless device which remotely monitors a person’s vital signs, hydration levels, sleep patterns and wellbeing to prevent falls, an infection or a hospital stay.

The product – named MiiCare – is being introduced across the local area to help keep people independent and in their own homes, rather than in hospital or a care home.

The availability of timely insights into the person’s current health and wellbeing benefits the user, reassures caregivers and loved ones, and also reduces the risk of falls, infections and hospitalisations.

A central MiiCare hub is connected to a set of devices and sensors around the home. A virtual assistant named Monica acts as a health coach – gently prompting the user to take their medication, to drink more or remind them about their appointments. Monica is also a companion – providing updates on the news and weather, regular time notifications, and checking how the user is feeling.

As part of a wider rollout over the past six months, 20 kits are currently being used in people’s homes in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Since using MiiCare, one person who had eight falls in the past 12 months, has only had one fall since the device has been installed. Another person who used to have four home care calls a day now does not need any routine calls. 

MiiCare has given one family the reassurance and confidence that residential care is not needed. ‘Karen’ (not her real name), who lives nearby but works full-time, explained:

“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’s mother, who has lived with sight and balance issues since a stroke in 2020, understands that MiiCare means people can now come to her aid if she is unable to let them know. Karen’s mother advises:

“I have this strange lady who lives with me now – Monica’s very handy if you need to know the time as I can’t see my watch anymore, or find out the weather for your washing or get a news update. Although she can be a bit of a nag at times, so I sometimes need to put her in her place!”

The Digitising Social Care (DiSC) programme – put in place by Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Health and Care Partnership – offers many innovative remote health monitoring tools to help reduce falls and improve care for local people.

Clare Steward, Digitising Social Care programme director, said:

“Remote health monitoring is an increasingly important way of keeping people well. For most patients, it’s a much better option than being cared for either temporarily in a care home or through an extended hospital stay. MiiCare is one of several innovative solutions that we’ve invested in to help provide the safest and highest quality care and enable people to stay independent for as long as possible.”

Kelvin Summoogum, Chief Executive Officer of MiiCare said:

“We are excited to be deploying MiiCare’s innovative technology in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes – empowering older adults to maintain independence at home. This project improves elderly residents’ quality of life, reduces hospital readmissions, and optimises care resources. We’re committed to transforming healthcare and proud to be part of this initiative, reaffirming our dedication to healthier, independent lives.”

To find out more about the Digitising Social Care programme, visit https://blmkhealthandcarepartnership.org/about/our-priorities/data-and-digital/digitising-social-care-disc-programme.

Domiciliary providers and early intervention teams can refer patients for MiiCare, but self-referrals are also accepted from eligible residents from the area. For more information or a referral form, please contact Lisa Burke, Project Manager: [email protected].

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