Tackling Chilly Temperatures with IoT Technology
The challenges associated with funding the care for an ageing population in the colder months continue. In one week alone last winter, the NHS had over 31,000 escalation bedsopen to cope with the demand, the equivalent of opening an additional eight hospitals. Yet many of the emergency admissions of the elderly due to falls, pneumonia, even dehydration, are avoidable – if there was a way to better identify and proactively address emerging problems.
Whilst additional funding will help ease the pressures on the NHS this winter, it is the effective and intelligent use of IoT technology that will be key to ensuring the care sector can achieve the timely interventions required to minimise emergency visits and ensure the vulnerable and elderly are safe at home in these chilly temperatures.
Intelligent Led Care
With current care services under extraordinary strain, there are huge swathes of time when a carer’s client is left unchecked. During the colder months, this could have an incremental impact on the NHS as there are an array of problems that could occur. Many elderly people are incredibly concerned about fuel costs, and as a result often avoid turning up the heating putting themselves at high risk of illness. There are also other areas that are cause for concern. Who knows whether an individual is eating enough to keep warm? What happens when someone leaves the one warm room to venture to the bathroom, for example? A fall in an unheated area of the home could be devastating and require not only a trip to A&E but admission to hospital. Add up these challenges and it is clear to see why more needs to be done to ensure we help carers deliver an enhanced personal care experience that will keep up with winter demand.
While both carers and cared for alike are somewhat resistant to the idea of CCTV or biometric scanners due to the perceived intrusion, in contrast the use of IoT sensors is widely welcomed. Installing movement, humidity and temperature sensors across a home enables a care organisation to rapidly gain a picture of each individual’s day to day routine – information that is then key to flagging changes which could reveal a problem. With visibility of which client requires urgent care and which one is happy and comfortable at home, the agency can allocate resources where required. Additionally, with every carer in the agency able to see this real-time information, should weather conditions be disrupting travel they can work together to determine who is in the safest position to reach the client in need – the carer closest or the carer who can avoid the tricky roads.
With continued rising demand and increasing pressures on resources, especially during the winter months, the care model has to change. By leveraging IoT technology to ensure carers reach priority clients as quickly and efficiently as possible will not only enable the older generation to stay in their homes for longer, but will alleviate the pressure felt during these cold winter months.