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Technology trial improves Incontinence management in Care Home

Posted Aug 08 2012 6:50pm

Technology is becoming increasingly common in homecare to enable people to live independently but it is still very much a rarity in care homes, yet monitoring people through technology can enable people in care homes to be more independent, keep them safe and allow staff to give more individualised care.

St Cecilia’s Care Home in Scarborough was one of the first care homes in the UK to install monitoring equipment to check for incontinence and falls.

St Cecilia’s, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council, introduced a range of monitoring equipment in June 2009, this included 18 enuresis sensors, a chair occupancy sensor, two falls detectors, three door exit sensors and a nursecall overlay.

The home cares for people suffering from mild to severe cases of dementia and the equipment gives quick and timely alerts to incontinence and residents out of bed or outdoors.

In recognition of its pioneering work, the care home has just been shortlisted for an Innovation Nation award and was recently visited by the Department of Health.

“We were approached by North Yorkshire County Council to trial the equipment and we thought it would help to give people with dementia more independence and choice,” says Mike Padgham, owner of the home.

He has found it has helped the home give the residents better care. “Each resident has an assessment so we can determine what equipment they need. We can monitor if they have a fall or if they go out of their bedroom and there are urinary sensors so we don’t need to keep checking if they need changing. Previously staff would have had to make regular ‘just in case’ checks on people suffering incontinence, which was intrusive for the residents.

“It has also given them more independence as they can go outside when they want to now as, if they fall in the garden out of sight, the sensor which can be worn as a wrist watch will go off. It allows them to be safe and also be independent. Their relatives are very pleased with it. Initially staff were worried that we were going to reduce staff levels or use the technology to watch them but it has given them more time to spend on one to one care. It has even enabled us to accept residents with higher care needs,” he says.

The equipment was trialled from June 2009 to August 2010 at St Cecilia’s care home and its success means it is still being used every day in the home.

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