More than 930,000 people in the UK have dementia, a figure set to rise well above one million by 2025.One in four hospital beds are now occupied by someone with the disease, yet in many instances it has been an unplanned admission for a condition that is preventable.
Surrey and Borders Partnership FT has taken a technological approach to bolstering support both for people with dementia and for their carers. The Technology Integrated Health Management (TIHM) trial is being led by the trust, working in partnership with bodies including the Alzheimer’s Society, the University of Surrey, Royal Holloway University of London and eight technology SMEs including Howz.
Those participating in the trial have had a network of 21 small devices installed in their homes. These collect physiological, behavioural and environmental data 24/7, including blood pressure, temperature, hydration and movement inside and outside of the home.
The data is analysed and presented on a digital dashboard, which is monitored by a clinical team. If a problem is identified then an alert is triggered and investigated by the team. Members liaise with other NHS services, the Alzheimer’s Society, social services or the police to make sure the individual gets the support he or she needs.
Initial analysis suggests a high degree of user satisfaction with the system. And the data collected has already made it possible to develop machine learning algorithms which identify early signs of a urinary tract infection – a top five cause of hospital admission among people with dementia.