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TEN QUESTIONS


10 Questions with... Nick Rutter


Each issue we ask an industry professional the Tomorrow’s Care 10 Questions. This month, we chatted to Nick Rutter, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at FireAngel Safety Technology.


Q1


HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE CARE INDUSTRY? I entered the care industry aſter co-founding FireAngel. In


the 90s, the smoke alarm industry was crying out for innovation. The user experience was poor, despite the importance of the product; saving lives. We recognised the need to raise standards, and today, we’re at the point where our technology can identify a fire risk before it escalates to a 999 call.


Q2 Q3


WHO, IN ANY OTHER INDUSTRY, DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? Steve Jobs, for his ability to envisage the future


through end-user need without being encumbered by current thinking or industry practice.


HOW DO YOU THINK THE CARE SECTOR COULD BE IMPROVED?


The sector needs to accelerate its adoption of technology. In less than five years the Public Switched Telephone Network, which has connected analogue telecare systems for decades, will be switched off and replaced by a digital IP network. This means that analogue assisted living alarms may become less reliable with a higher rate of failed calls. Making the switch now will not only help prepare for the future but enable a more person-centred, proactive and predictive home care service. Unlike analogue systems, digital networks are ‘always on’, allowing sensors in self-contained homes to connect and send vital information to a shared digital platform accessible by home care professionals.


Q4 Q5


Q6 - 48 -


IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SUPERPOWER FOR A DAY WHAT WOULD IT BE?


My superpower would be for everyone to believe that they already have one. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things. They just need to believe it.


WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING THE CARE INDUSTRY TODAY?


There is a disproportionate risk of death from fire for the three-quarters of a million residents estimated to be living in specialised housing, such as extra care housing or assisted living arrangements. Without carers around 24/7, safeguarding measures need to fill in the gaps. Our solution can send rapid, detailed alerts if it registers heat or smoke – so even if a tenant cannot call for help themselves, the fire service can be contacted and dispatched at speed.


IF YOU COULD HAVE A DINNER PARTY WITH ANY THREE PEOPLE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE?


I would choose the chef Anthony Bourdain, author Graham Greene and musician Frank Zappa, primarily for the sheer entertainment value.


Q7


WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW COMING INTO THE CARE PROFESSION?


Ultimately, care is about people, so spending real, quality time with those who need it can allow for products and services that will truly empathise with, and meet, the needs of those who require assistance. For example, many telecare providers in the industry have focussed on meeting basic human requirements and have underestimated the deeper psychological factors. A resident who has suffered a fall may wait for a family member to arrive rather than use a panic button made available to them to avoid neighbours seeing an ambulance driving down the street. Although the technology is available, the stigma around ageing and the feeling that a sense of pride or control is threatened can prevent people from using it. Empathising with these factors by focussing technology on prevention rather than just cure can lessen feelings of helplessness and allow for a lengthier period of assisted living before moving into permanent residential care.


Q8 Q9


WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN A FUTURE ISSUE OF TOMORROW’S CARE?


I would like to see interviews with receivers of care in the UK to hear their views as an end-user, and learn what else we can all do to improve the service in the sector.


WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THE CARE INDUSTRY?


For residents with home care providers, we will see more telecare systems in mainstream devices. It is likely that the big global players in tech such as Apple, Amazon and Google will accelerate change in a way that the industry has never experienced before.


Q10


WHAT DIFFERENT WAYS DO YOU THINK THAT SERVICES COULD BE COMMISSIONED FROM LOCAL


AUTHORITIES THAT WOULD GIVE RISE TO BETTER QUALITY AND VALUE FOR MONEY? We need an open system that can connect a range of devices in the home, from smart health monitors to connected smoke alarms and technologies that are already familiar to many elderly tenants, such as panic buttons or fall detectors. If local authorities provided a hub that different technologies could feed into, more residents in assisted living arrangements could receive holistic support, increasing the likelihood of preventing further risks to health and decreasing associated costs in the long-term.


www.fireangel.co.uk/ www.tomorrowscare.co.uk


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