Department of Health and Social Care
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Hi-Tech Home Healthcare

Hi-Tech Home Healthcare

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (2007/0128) issued by The Government News Network on

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt today (Wednesday 23rd May) announced new sites that will use hi-tech home healthcare to help older people, and those with long term conditions, to lead more independent lives - helping to prevent emergency or unexpected admissions to hospital.

Telehealth monitoring devices help people with long-term conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, to monitor and manage their condition. People test their blood glucose levels or blood pressure on a small machine at home. The results are monitored by healthcare professionals who can alert patients with any concerns. The local GP surgery can also monitor the patient remotely.

Telecare devices consist of sensors in the home and carry out simple tasks like switching lights on or raising an alarm if an old person does not return to bed in the middle of the night. These systems are closely monitored and ensure assistance is sent to an old person as soon as they need it.

Teams in Kent, Newham and Cornwall have been awarded £12m to look at how best these services can be implemented.

The aims of the programme are to:
* Help people to maintain their independence
* Reduce the number of prescriptions dispensed
* Reduce the numbers admitted to residential care and nursing homes
* Reduce emergency hospital bed days and admissions, and reduce A&E attendances

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said:

"Improving patient care with new scientific advances and innovation is vital if the NHS is to continue to offer the very best services. But new gadgets aren't just about specialist innovations in hospitals - it is about using innovation at the frontline of the NHS to help patients manage their conditions better themselves.

"Remote devices mean greater choice and independence for patients, with more people able to monitor and look after their own health. So a person with diabetes can have their blood sugar monitored from home - meaning less unexpected or emergency trips to hospital."


Notes to Editors

1.Teams in Kent, Newham and Cornwall have been awarded funding to look at how best these services can be implemented. £12m in 2007/08 is supporting the sites locally and the provision of project management and other implementation support. The Department is commissioning a major independent evaluation through its Policy Research Programme. The evaluation will capture the lessons from the Demonstrators and determine the best options for wider implementation of whole systems programmes to meet the needs of people with long term conditions.

2. The pilot sites will be working with patients with chronic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or type II diabetes and frail older people with complex health and social care needs.

3.The Our Health, Our Care, Our Say White Paper stated that we would explore the exciting opportunities opened up by integrated health and social care supported by assistive technology.

4.Over 7000 Telehealth and Telecare devices are expected to be installed over the next 2 years approximately 3000 Telehealth and 4000 Telecare installations.


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