Five councils constitute the South London Partnership (SLP) and, in this area,
there are a number of vulnerable residents that the councils are not able to
proactively monitor for signs of physical or cognitive deterioration.
Provision of care has become ever more challenging, exacerbated by Covid-19 and both in terms of demand and restrictions around close contact.
The Partnership, led by Sutton Council, was seeking new, simplified solutions to
monitor the activities of daily living and raise alerts should atypical behaviour be
identified. In the worst case scenario, this information is obtained too late, which
results in severe implications for residents, who may decline rapidly.
The initial pilot covered 200 homes across Sutton that are served by Sutton
Housing Partnership. The chosen solution had to support the Independent
Living Officers that directly care for vulnerable residents and work alongside
existing tele-care solutions.
Project solution and technology
IoT Solutions Group’s Assisted Living solution is an unobtrusive monitoring system that assesses residents’ behaviours and automatically raises alerts when deviations occur.
An IoT device, that is small enough to be posted through a letter box for completely socially distanced delivery, monitors environmental conditions and builds a picture of activity based on events such as cooking a meal, washing dishes or opening a window.
No visual or audio monitoring takes place and no personal information is recorded, protecting confidentiality. The solution is fully GDPR compliant.
Over the initial 48 hours, an understanding of the resident’s typical behaviour is built. If activity levels decline, alerts are raised via SMS and email and displayed on a management dashboard.
This alert system helps care teams quickly identify residents who may be experiencing ill health or have had an accident, thus allowing swift intervention.
Unlike other assisted living products, this solution requires no interaction from the resident, which is a significant advantage when they are incapacitated or unwilling to raise an alert, despite being in need.
Insight provided by this solution also helps care teams identify residents who may be experiencing fuel poverty, but haven’t yet requested help. Again, this allows pro-active intervention before further issues arise.
Devices are connected to the cloud by a low powered wide area network and powered by batteries with a 3-5 year life span. This means no mains power, internet connection or installation expertise is required.
This project has a number of key benefits for councils, care providers, residents and families alike:
- Early intervention – the automated alert system allows care teams to swiftly respond to potential issues that, if left unaddressed, could lead to exacerbated health issues. In just the first week of deployment, 2 alerts were raised identifying elderly residents who were injured and ill, yet unable to call for help. Paramedics stated that without the alert from the system, one of the residents would not have survived.
- Independence with confidence – independence and dignity is a cornerstone of any care regime and so any solution that enables care to be provided whilst minimising intervention when not required is a huge positive. Residents and their families can be confident that the required support is there, even if not visible.
- Resource efficiencies – with additional monitoring solutions, care providers can manage resources for those most in need. This allows for rapid response when and where required, as well as freeing up resources elsewhere in the care system – for instance, by reducing hospital admissions.
The importance of partnership
Care provision requires a joined up approach across teams and this is even more important when deploying technology to support the wider programme of work.
The partnership between IoTSG, SuttonCouncil and Sutton Housing Partnership has been imperative to deliver a successful programme of work that supports the care teams without creating an additional burden.
From the outset, cross departmental collaboration and openness has allowed the project teams to refine the solution early on and tailor the deployment to guarantee success.
The partnership has laid the foundations for ongoing expansion of the solution and enabling of shared learnings and insights from SLP data sets.
“We are committed to exploring new ways in which we can harness technology to improve the care services delivered within Sutton, while also saving taxpayers’ money.
“We have taken learnings from the previous lockdown and we are excited to work closely with IoT Solutions Group and Sutton Housing Partnership to support the way in which we manage our social care teams, the services that they commission from care homes and providers who give care in residents’ own homes.” said Councillor Sunita Gordon, Lead Member for Finance and Resources at Sutton Council.