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Oxehealth: developing a better way to care for dementia patients

New technology helps medical staff to improve the safety of at-risk dementia patients through camera-based non-contact monitoring of their vital signs.

Every 3 seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with dementia. Furthermore, dementia has now overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in the UK.

Caring for patients with the condition can be challenging, with monitoring often limited to time-consuming physical checks by staff. Now, Oxford-based company, Oxehealth, has developed a way to improve the care of patients by combining computer algorithms with optical sensors. This enables staff to monitor activity like getting out of bed or leaving a room, as well as the patient’s vital signs, heart rate and breathing rate in real time and to medical-grade accuracy.

Oxehealth offers software as a service (SaaS) solutions to professional carers who have a duty of care to a vulnerable person in a room. This enables carers to receive alerts when the system detects care-relevant events. They can then access a live video feed and choose to intervene if they decide it’s needed.

A world-first for patient monitoring

Hugh Lloyd-Jukes, chief executive, commented:

Oxehealth has achieved a world first. We have never before had the capability to constantly monitor a patient’s heart rate, breathing rate, activity and other routine data in this way.

We will, in time, fuse this data together using artificial intelligence so there’s no reason why we can’t use the same technology in the future to detect worsening dementia, or even its onset. This could give us a world where we can detect conditions such as dementia much earlier.

Patients could stay in their own homes or wherever they’re most comfortable without the need to come to hospital. That will save everyone a huge amount of time, money and stress.

Oxehealth is testing the software to remotely monitor patients on the dementia ward at the Manor Hospital in Coventry, which has been highlighted in a recent BBC documentary.

The work is in keeping with the government’s Industrial Strategy. This is seeking new ways to tackle dementia through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support healthy ageing, by offering funding opportunities for businesses and researchers to find solutions.

Find out more about the healthy ageing challenge.

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