20/09/2016 09:33 BST | Updated 20/09/2017 06:12 BST

The Dawn Of A New Day For People Affected By Dementia

A ground-breaking £5 million UK trial to see how the Internet of Things could transform the lives of people with dementia was recently launched by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The trial will involve 1,400 people and is the first of its kind in the UK to test how the Internet of Things could help modernise NHS healthcare for the benefit of older people with long-term health conditions.

Called TIHM (Technology Integrated Health Management) for dementia, the trial will help clinicians to remotely monitor the health and wellbeing of people with dementia so they can intervene earlier to help someone avoid a crisis and unnecessary hospital stay. It is also hoped the trial will relieve pressure on carers and help people with dementia to remain independent for longer.

I had the privilege of attending the launch on behalf of Intelesant as one of our platforms, Howz, is part of a trial to evaluate the benefits of Internet of Things for people with dementia and those caring for them. 

Speaking to people with dementia and their carers, along with experienced professionals, it is clear that there is a desire for minimal intrusion in the early stages, but it is recognised that there is the need to explore what is available. This is a significant challenge, the earlier technologies are added, the more familiar they become whilst an individual has the capacity to engage with devices.

We need to be sensitive to the individual journey when we are discussing what the future may look like.  I have learned over the years that we all deal with illness in different ways, but one theme runs throughout - hope. A patient of mine with an aggressive, progressive neurological condition once told me, "if false hope is what gets me up in the morning, then so be it, better to be up and about than giving up."  

For some of these people facing the future of not recognising objects and their family needing to monitor their movements may just be too much, and could significantly impact on their quality of life now.

Howz provides a starting point for many people with electricity monitoring that requires no visible sensors in the home. This gives everyone time to get used to the idea of technology being used at home, and provides a platform for the introduction of additional sensors over time. We are looking forward to participating in this project, supporting recruitment where we can, and achieving meaningful results for those dealing with this difficult condition.

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