Integrated eCare supports health and social wellbeing

At the INDEPENDENT pilot site in Hull, Tunstall myclincs, specially enhanced for the INDEPENDENT project, have been placed in three Pickering & Ferens schemes in the city to support people who may have lessened mobility and dexterity (for example) but are otherwise generally well. Users help each other to take their vital signs and answer questions about their health. This data is fed back through the 3G network into Tunstall’s icp triagemanager software, and if alerts are raised then the telehealth monitoring nurses based in Hull respond accordingly.

Early results have shown that the project is delivering added value with a social care and inclusion aspect to what is essentially a health tool. In addition to integrating health monitoring into a social care setting, one of the most unexpected results of the system use at this time in the project are the social interactions which have come from the users themselves. A group of users have come together to use one of the MUDs as a group activity. Within the group are people who have visual and hearing impairment as well as others with mobility and dexterity disabilities. Some of these users would not be able to utilise the MUD as an individual but as a collective they assist each other in the areas that they struggle. A person who has had a stroke can still touch the screen and answer the questions but struggles to put the blood pressure cuff on so is assisted in that by a person who is not physically impaired. Another person who has sight difficulties can do the physical monitoring but a friend helps by touching the screen to answer the questions. This is an encouraging example of peer to peer support and one which was not envisaged at any point previously. As a group they are also making the use of the system ‘their Friday morning outing’ which has become a ‘normal’ part of the week and is now something they look forward to. They even have mini competitions to see who has the best oxygen saturation levels or who has put on a pound or lost a couple.