MySense trial image

Patients in Stoke-on-Trent are benefiting from a new pilot project, launched collaboratively across health and social care, aimed to support people in their own homes and avoid an unnecessary trip into hospital.

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have joined forces to pilot the use of home-based sensors in the homes of the city’s most vulnerable patients.

The first 25 patients have now signed up to the MySense trial, which aims to use assistive technology to monitor early changes in health and behaviour to ensure that the right support can be put in place early.

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This enables the patient to continue to live independently at home and reduce the levels of attendances into the emergency department and further hospital admissions at Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital, Stafford.

MySense is a set of sensors placed in each of the patients’ homes to monitor their movements and routines. The data is then recorded and sent to a dashboard monitored by the High Intensity Users Team to look for patterns, changes and areas of concern, which could result in an avoidable admission to hospital.

Should an intervention be required, the High Intensity Users Team will be in contact with ‘key responders’ who could be family, the patient’s GP, other health and care professionals that maybe already involved or the Community Rapid Intervention Service (CRIS).

Helen Ashley, Director of Strategy at University Hospitals of North Midlands, said: “The aim is to identify, intervene and resolve any issues or challenges the patients are experiencing to reduce the need for reliance on hospital care and associated risks, maintaining health and well-being, while promoting independence and choice for patients.”

Working with residents, Stoke-on-Trent City Council have successfully installed sensors in the patients’ homes in discrete places such as in the toilet, on the kettle, in the living area, on the patient’s mattress. The patient is also asked to wear a wristband at all times to monitor heart rate.

Councillor Ally Simcock, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Care at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, added: “I am really pleased that we have been able to support this scheme. The sensors are useful, innovative tools that will hopefully help patients avoid being admitted into our hospitals unnecessarily, while also helping them to feel reassured and safe in their own homes.

“This is a great example of collaborative working across health and social care to support the health and well-being of our residents.”

The use of technology-enabled care (TEC) by local authorities, care providers and NHS organisations to monitor vulnerable residents has seen a massive increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, where reduced social contact has been enforced to reduce the spread of the virus.

Home care service provider The Crescent recently invested in 24-hour remote monitoring equipment to provide extra reassurance and support to vulnerable members of the community.

Telecare provider Astraline also teamed up with the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) NHS Trust to support more elderly and disabled people out in the community.

Following a successful regional pilot project, Astraline and its team of care operators can now be contacted by an NWAS clinician to respond to certain calls in Cheshire on their behalf, where first aid is required instead of emergency treatment.

The aim of the new partnership is to free up the ambulance service’s team to be able to respond to life-threatening emergencies while Astraline operators respond to non-emergency calls in the community, where a resident might have had a fall.

Additionally, Essex County Council recently awarded a new TEC service contract to Millbrook Healthcare and Provide CIC in a bid to help Essex residents remain safe and independent.

Following a comprehensive tender process, Millbrook Healthcare will partner with Provide CIC and work alongside Essex Fire & Rescue and Uttlesford District Council to provide a managed care technology service for Essex County Council.

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