‘It’s just like there is a doctor in the house’
Pilot test of Telehealth devices where patients take their own readings and send them direct to medics
PATIENTS in Ashford and Shepway will benefit from pioneering technology after Kent was chosen as one of three areas to get funding for home monitoring devices.
Health secretary Patricia Hewitt announced last week that £12m has been awarded to Kent, Newham and Cornwall, to evaluate how Telehealth and Telecare devices can help people with long-term health problems and the elderly.
Both schemes are being piloted by Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT, in conjunction with Kent County Council, in Ashford, Shepway, Gravesend and Swanley.
If successful, the devices will be rolled out nationwide in 2009.
Telehealth monitors are save and store devices, with touch screens and voice prompts, that allow patients to check their own blood pressure, oxygen and glucose levels.
Data is sent through to a clinician who can immediately pick up on any problems and alert the patient.
Shepway community matron, Sharon Lee, said: “It allows them to be in more control of their health.
“It gives them confidence to seek advice when they have a problem and allows us to make early diagnosis. It can potentially stop the need for hospital visits and reduce the length of stay.”
Telecare is a system of wireless sensors to help the elderly stay safe by alerting a call centre to any problems.
“There are 16 different types of sensors to go into older peoples homes to help them stay safer,” said Kent County Council spokesman, Emma Burns.
“The alarms are linked to a 24hour call centre.
“They can pick up on extreme temperatures, or flood waters, or smoke, or even if someone is out of bed in the middle of the night.”
She said patients also wore a personal alarm around their necks which they could press in case of an emergency.
Kennington couple John and Pat Reynolds are the first in Ashford to have a Telehealth monitoring device fitted in their home