HEALTH & SAFETY Personal Profile

Increased personalisation is the key to delivering safety and autonomy for individuals living in care, says Stephen Cavanagh, Senior Sales Consultant for Long Term Care at Ascom.

By 2039, one in every four people in the UK will be aged 65 and over. For care homes, feeling the strain even prior to the events of the last 18 months, the challenge ahead is daunting.

How do you meet

increased demand for service provision while guaranteeing the health,

safety and mental wellbeing of individuals in your care? The answer is increased personalisation.

It sounds counterintuitive. Wouldn’t offering a more personal care plan for each individual put greater strain on resources? Not when integrated smart technology is ready to step up as a vital enabler of progressive, personalised care.


The use of sensors to monitor movement, location and status, for example, is fast becoming familiar ground to many. As is the use of audio monitoring, two-way comms, cameras, smart phone alerts and nurse call notifications.

“Data can be used to

monitor movement levels and vital signs, alerting staff if or when medical attention is needed.”

What’s new, however, is that all these elements can now be unified and connected with an individual’s care record in a way that enables carers

to ‘prescribe’ bespoke health monitoring plans.

Tailored profiles are based on known movement habits, healthcare history and live sensor data. These profiles mean that the smart technology deployed automatically and intuitively detect deviations from the established norm and alert designated care staff – via their smart devices - to any potential issue.


ALSO PRACTICAL Predictive care becomes possible. Sensor-based deviation monitoring can be used as an early warning system for status

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deterioration. An example of this might be a normally active resident spending more time in their room alone or in bed. In this instance, care teams would be alerted to review and, if necessary, adjust the care or monitoring plan. Wren Hall, a specialist care home for individuals with dementia that we work with in Nottinghamshire, has already started using technology in this way with positive results.

Reactive care becomes quicker. Such a system can immediately, for instance, alert care teams if an individual with dementia is unaccompanied near an exit, or outside of a designated ‘safe zone’. Urgent response requirements are met and automatically escalated by severity.

Ongoing care is less intrusive: instead of a care worker having to check in on an individual every few hours through the night, data from integrated smart bed sensors can be used to monitor movement levels and vital signs, alerting staff if or when medical attention is needed. As well as giving people living in care homes more autonomy, this also frees up staff to focus on care delivery.

Privacy is never compromised. With the solutions we have been developing at Ascom, for instance, live data from sensors, cameras, audio systems and so on can be turned off at an individual’s request, without losing the alert capability so health and safety is never compromised.


OF ‘ALERT FATIGUE’ Finally, it is important to say that while data is a huge asset in delivering better care, too much can cause problems. Any one-size-fits-all solution has to generate alerts for anything that could require attention. For care teams, this can mean a flood of information that distracts from the events and developments that matter.

Using integrated technologies to enable personalised health monitoring avoids such ‘alert fatigue’, enabling better outcomes for those in care and reducing strain on staff. Again, Wren Hall, the care facility I mentioned earlier, has found this. Having only been piloting personalised sensor-driven care plan for a few months, they’ve seen time spent on ‘false’ alerts and unnecessary checks drop, and a corresponding increase in positive health outcomes prompted by sensor- driven notifications.

In the words of Anita Astle, Manager at Wren Hall, the system allows their team to “quickly see what matters, deliver highly focussed person-specific care, but without any additional process management burden. In fact, much less. It’s an approach to care with clear, tangible benefits”. If that isn’t a win-win for a care system under pressure, I don’t know what is.

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