Press release – December 13 2016
Hi-tech pilot scheme allows patients’ health to be monitored remotely
Pauline Priddy is at the heart of a quiet revolution taking place in Hereford which is transforming the way people are being cared for in their own home.
Pauline suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which means it is difficult for her to breathe due to an obstruction in her lungs which interferes with the flow of air.
It is a serious condition which has resulted in the 77-year-old being treated in the County Hospital’s Emergency Department, and requires regular monitoring of her condition, including how much oxygen is in her blood.
“This would normally have meant either regular trips to the hospital or regular visits by community nursing staff to her home,” said Sharon Mayglothling, Wye Valley NHS Trusts’ head of nursing and service delivery manager for neighbourhood teams and community hospitals.
But thanks to the pilot scheme currently underway, Pauline connects with community health professionals via a small unit which uses the mobile telephone network to send information once a day.
As well as sending readings for the oxygen level in her blood, the system also asks her a series of questions which allows Community Health Professionals to assess her condition remotely and predict if any medical intervention is required.
“We’ve been using this for the last five weeks,” explained Pauline’s daughter, Suzie Lindesay, who helps her mother with the unit each day.
“It’s reassuring to know that my mum is being monitored closely and using this unit is really simple and saves visits to the hospital and visits of nurses to my mother’s home,” she added.
“It’s great to feel that I’m doing something to help my mother’s healthcare.”
Once the unit is plugged in, it makes contact with the community team and sends updates directly to those caring for her.
Using telehealth enables patients’ vital signs such as temperature, blood oxygen levels, blood pressure and weight to be measured remotely so that any changes can be quickly identified.
“This sort of technology enables patients to manage their own long-term condition effectively at home,” said Sharon.
“It can result in early diagnosis of unforeseeable health related problems and it also empowers patients to take a more active role in their care.
“The pilot scheme has been running for around five weeks and we’re getting some very positive feedback from patients with a range of illnesses who are trialling the units.
“There is an increasing emphasis on providing patients with the support and skills to self-manage their conditions, and for the Trust to provide timely interventions that promote well-being and allow a more efficient use of health care resources.”
The Trust teamed up with colleagues providing social care at Herefordshire Council and has jointly run the pilot with the aim of:
- Reducing the number of unplanned hospital admissions
- Reducing the demand on unscheduled care
- Freeing up community staff to allow them to concentrate on the most seriously ill patients
- Improving medication compliance
- Promoting patient independence in managing their own long-term condition
“It’s early days, but the scheme is having a very positive impact on our patients with lot of good feedback so far from the patients who are part of the pilot.
“We’re hoping that the scheme will provide clear evidence of how technology such as this can support people to live independently, take control and be responsible for their own health”.
The pilot scheme is being monitored closely and, if it proves successful, it is hoped that it will be rolled out across the whole of Herefordshire.
From the left: Community Matron Kate Philpotts, Pauline Priddy, and Suzie Lindesay with the unit which sends details of Pauline’s health to Community Nursing professionals.
Note to Editors WVT:
- Wye Valley NHS Trust is a provider of health services across Herefordshire and beyond. The Trust exists to improve the wellbeing, independence and health of the people we serve.
- By working closely with our partners, we can make good our promise to deliver a quality of care we would want for ourselves, our families and our friends.
- With an estimated annual turnover of around £180 million, we employ around 3,000 staff. We aim to build new relationships between our staff, patients, service users and their carers with the wider community.
For further information please contact: John Burnett, Communication and Engagement Manager, Wye Valley NHS Trust: 01432 372928 or Amanda Millichip, Communications Officer 01432 355444 ext. 5105.