Turning beds into 'Smart Beds'

New tech in health care is without a doubt, my personal addiction. A new 3D medical printer article is a bedtime story to me!

I recently heard of a pilot scheme for new hi-tech equipment being rolled out to help staff in residential homes, meet the needs of vulnerable people even quicker – and give residents more control over their care. Tech for independence is as worthwhile as it gets.

Touch Free Life Care (TLC) sensor mat is an innovative and modern system, which when placed under any bed mattress continuously detects heart rate, breathing rate, motion and presence. The system then transmits data seamlessly to the cloud-based platform. Blackburn along with Darwen Council’s Safe and Well Programme and working in partnership with BES Healthcare are currently piloting “TLC Technology” at Acorn House Care Home in Blackburn.

It enables caregivers to receive, direct to their PC or mobile devices, health data and alerts about their clients in care. Using the TLC System, healthcare professionals and caregivers, while performing their other duties can monitor a group of clients continuously. They can also review long term trend data for sleep patterns, resting heart and breathing rate and sleep quality to identify adverse changes in health for early intervention.It is also planned that these devices will be used as part of the re-ablement programme, where people who have spent time in hospital are able to return to their homes thanks to the extra assistance and equipment to help them live an independent life.

The equipment has already been introduced to other residential homes in the borough over the last 12 months - Branch Court, Moorland View, Longfield, Hollymount, St James House and Northwood.

Cllr Mohammed Khan, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Safe, secure and comfortable care is vital for all elderly residents of the borough, both in residential care and their own homes, and the Council is committed to help people do this through improvements in technology and care. These advancements enable older people to enjoy their retirement with the help of superb facilities, which, along with the success with the Council’s Telecare service, has helped many people enjoy a real peace of mind and helped them to enjoy their lives more knowing they have this equipment in place. It also helps staff in a huge way, allowing them to respond to the needs of residents straight away.

 

What are the Benefits?

Pressure Management

The TLC Position Change application enables caregivers to record position changes, see the duration since the last position change, and receive automated reminders for the next position change. All position changes are recorded to ensure compliance with the care plan protocol.

Falls Prevention

Track in and out of bed events and provide immediate alerts to caregivers, so that caregivers can provide assistance and reduce falls.

Sleep Analysis

Monitor nightly sleep quality by comparing sleep duration, restlessness, nightly heart rate and breathing rate to long-term trends and medical standards.

 

The Unseen Advantage

So back to my first question, why the big push in this area of Tech? I can clearly see how the monitoring systems are advancing care, and how Position Change applications could end up being part of every hospital bed as standard in the near future. O2 levels, cardiac function etc, all set with trigger alerts with non-invasive, non-contact technology is clearly on the way for all. But I have a theory that there is a bigger fish to land here that may explain the interest and push into this tech. For me the real insight here is the data its self.

Imagine if you would, that all the collected data from these monitored systems was processed through one central point, (if we can get round the privacy issue). All data that was ever monitored could be cross-referenced with static medical data, eg, weight, age, medical history, operation type, ethnic background, etc. This could then be used to build algorithms that could predict accurate likely outcomes for current circumstances. Plotting trends that allow the system to set very accurate alerts triggers, and even advise on what else to monitor for given the patience circumstances.

Future predictions based on huge amounts of accurately monitored historic data. The ‘Google Analytics’ of the medical world

What technology are you encoutering in healthcare?

Lucina Ridgewell

 

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