‘It’s just like there is a doc­tor in the house’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - FRONT PAGE - by Clare Mul­grew

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.

Pic­ture Martin Apps pd1211689

Ken­ning­ton cou­ple John and Pat Reynolds are the first in Ash­ford to have a Tele­health mon­i­tor­ing de­vice fit­ted in their home

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