New initiative which helps older people could save NHS Lothian £150,000 a year

TWO frail pensioners who fell in their homes last week received help within minutes thanks to new state-of-the-art alarms.

The pair were among the first to be given the new neck pendant alarm connected direct to support staff under a joint city council and NHS Lothian scheme.

In one case, a 90-year-old man from the east of the city landed on his kitchen floor last Wednesday, but within 15 minutes carers arrived to bring him to his feet.

The previous day, a woman, aged 92, from the north-west, fell on her living room floor, also activating a neck alarm, allowing staff to arrive quickly to check her over.

It comes as the Telecare Falls Project is being rolled out across the city, introducing electronic detectors in properties where residents are known to be at risk.

The £120,000 initiative will help around 300 people over the next year.

Councillor Paul Edie, health and social care convener, said: “A fall can shake people’s confidence and leave them isolated. They become worried about leaving their home for routine trips to the shops or even moving too far from the safety of a particular room.

“If we can rebuild their self-belief then they can literally rebuild their lives and grasp back their independence.”

The detectors are linked to a 24/7 mobile support team which will respond to a fall within minutes, potentially saving NHS Lothian £150,000 and 1,000 hospital bed days a year.

Every year across the UK, falls account for 10 per cent of acute hospital admissions, resulting in NHS spending of £1.7 billion and 70,000 fractured hips.

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Fife Council’s Telecare programme uses satellite technology to monitor people with dementia

Success in tracking dementia sufferers

A PILOT project in Fife, enabling people with dementia to enjoy more independent lives whilst at the same time giving their families peace of mind, is being hailed a major success.

For a number of months, as part of its wider Telecare programme, Fife Council’s social work service, in partnership with the region’s health service and police, has been monitoring the benefits of using satellite tracking technology to trace dementia sufferers should they become disorientated.

Five people across Fife—two in Glenrothes and the others in Gauldry, Crossford and Kirkcaldy—have now been given GPS (global positioning system) devices as part of the pilot, meaning that family members, carers and even the police can quickly pinpoint the wearer if they become lost.

The matchbox-sized sensors enable a person with early-stage dementia to get out and about with the confidence that a family member or other carer can offer assistance if needed.

Such has been the project’s success thus far, that John Honeyman, training and marketing adviser with the Fife Telecare Programme, said he hoped the technology would become more widespread and eventually become the norm.

“This is only running as a pilot but we want what we’re doing to become as routine as meals on wheels or community alarms,” he said.

“People know these terms so we want the term Telecare to be the same so people know and readily understand the benefits of it.

“The potential cost benefits are clear in that if, for example, there was an emergency situation where the police had to stand up several officers to conduct a search, that could cost them a lot of money and resources.

“But moving away from the cost side of things, in terms of the effect this illness has on the person but also their family, that’s where we’re looking to measure the impact.

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Edinburgh City Council's "telecare" scheme monitors elderly people in their homes.

Cash boost for Telecare programme


Pensioner hands
The system helps older people remain independent in their own homes

Hundreds more older and vulnerable people in Edinburgh are to benefit from electronic aids in their own homes thanks to a council cash boost.

The city council said it would be spending £1m on its Telecare programme, which is to be extended across Edinburgh.

The system uses electronic sensors and gadgets to help people remain independent in their own homes.

It helps reduce the need for long-term care or hospital admission.

The system includes sensors which will switch off cookers if they have been left on accidentally and then alert the care team. 

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Edinburgh City Council's "telecare" scheme monitors elderly people in their homes

THOUSANDS of hospital and care-home beds are set to be freed up in the next year, with funds for remote monitoring more than doubling.

Edinburgh City Council is spending up to £1 million on “telecare” packages to help people stay in their own homes.

Measures include sensors that turn off cookers, GPS trackers for people with Alzheimer’s and alarms so elderly residents can call for help.

In the past three years, the city council has spent an average of £405,000 on telecare. This year it is rising to £950,000 as the services are offered to more people.

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