Canary talks about how technology helps provide better care on 5 Live

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Live interview on Radio 5 Live on 22nd January 2016

Peter Allen (presenter):

Melanie Newdick, you use technology to help you care for your Mum

Melanie Newdick (who cares for her Mum who has dementia):

We do indeed, yes

We use a monitoring system called Canarycare, which we found on the internet. We’ve been using it for about 2 years and it means that we can dial in any time and see. It has monitors on the wall that show us where Mum is and where she has been moving around in the house

Peter:

Like CCTV effectively is it?

Melanie:

Well it isn’t funnily enough which is one of the things we liked about it because homecare is done apparently where there is CCTV so this is just an infra red detector not a camera

 

You just pick up the fact that there has been movement detected in the room. We felt like CCTV was a bit of an invasion of Mum’s privacy to be honest so this was a really great system that gave us all the information

We get lots of information. We get movement which tells us things like whether she has been eating because we can see has she been long enough in the kitchen. It’s helped us understand her sleeping patterns. It also monitors temperature in the house so we know if the heating is working. It also monitors light and we have the door monitors fitted too so we can see who is coming in or out and whether Mum has gone out when perhaps she shouldn’t.

We can set up an alert so that if the door has opened and you chose how you receive the alert

Peter:

So you could get a bleep on your phone saying have a look at this

Melanie:

Yes

Peter:

Right, is it expensive, Melanie?

Melanie:

We bought our system and I think it was about £270 to buy and we pay about £15 a month for monitoring

Peter:

So it’s not a fortune and presumably in terms of if you want to look at it in terms of a health spending perspective, you probably save someone a lot of money by doing it this way

Melanie:

I think we have and I think if we had looked at Mum’s dementia symptoms alone, we would have thought that she was deteriorating and she would have been heading for a home much earlier on but actually we know a lot of the problems are problems with sleep so yes I definitely think there are huge savings and also great peace of mind for us too.

Peter:

Well that’s very interesting, thank you, Melanie. That’s a very positive story. Best of luck to you in the future. Stuart Sheehy, is Managing Director of Canary Care who supplied this technology to Melanie. Sounds like she has done the job for you really because she loves the system.

Stuart (Managing Director of Canary Care):

Yes it’s great for us to be able to help people like Melanie and her Mum using this technology and, you’re right, she has summed it up extremely well as to what we are trying to achieve with the technology and what the technology can do. It’s really about keeping people independent at home for longer, it’s about supporting carers and their families, giving them reassurance that their loved one is safe and well or giving them a message if there is something untoward…   if someone doesn’t go into the kitchen in the morning and they are still in bed then it allows you to intervene that little bit earlier, you can make a phone call, if a care visit needs to be changed and someone needs to pop in earlier then we can achieve that so it’s allowing the care system to adapt to the person that should be at the centre of the care package that is being delivered.

Peter:

Yes and it gives you that monitoring ability……it doesn’t replace care does it but it means you can be a bit more specific about when and how you apply care

Stuart:

Absolutely, it’s about providing better, more timely care and yes this is absolutely not about minimising care, it’s about making the care as effective as possible and providing that care at the right time to the person when they need it

Peter:

You may have heard the Government Minister saying we’re going to get involved in this sort of thing which sounds good, doesn’t it?

Stuart:

Yes, we’ve been partnering with Care City which is part of North East London Foundation Trust and Barking and Dagenham so this is actually bringing together the NHS and Social Services so that you can provide the appropriate care to individuals at home using both carers and health professionals as well.

Care & Technology – what are we scared of?

 

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In most aspects of our lives, we value information. We seek out independent reviews before buying a new fridge, we check the weather forecast, we look at reports before choosing a school or university – we use technology to gather information to help us to make a more informed choice – to choose the fridge that’s right for us, to know when to go for a walk, to identify our preferred education option.

But when it comes to care, the shutters come down when we mention technology

“Yes but technology doesn’t replace human contact”

“Not sure Mum would like that”

“I don’t think we need it yet”

Let’s get one thing straight, TECHNOLOGY DOES NOT REPLACE HUMAN CARE. Of course, it doesn’t – and it’s not designed to. But what technology, like telecare, can do is help us make better, more informed choices about the care needed.

As Melanie Newdick, a carer and Non-Executive Director to NHS Highland said

Having information has totally transformed our understanding of my Mum’s dementia.

We can see that she wasn’t eating properly because we could see that she wasn’t in the kitchen long enough to prepare a meal; when the heating packed up we knew almost straight away because the temperature had dropped by one degree. More recently we’ve seen that her sleeping has become really erratic and we’ve been able to help with that.

By having information, we can identify changes in behaviour, we can see any areas where a little more support is needed, such as mealtimes or bedtimes, and we can make decisions based on fact.

Armed with information, we can make better decisions sooner – solving the issue and avoiding the crisis….therefore keeping people in their own homes and out of hospital for longer.

And those being cared for have said, according to Melanie Newdick:

…that having information has made them feel more in control. It’s given them the confidence to do things they haven’t done. It’s reduced their anxiety and worry because they can see how they are doing and they’ve made better choices because they can understand the impact of things upon their health. Just by having information they’ve made better choices. I think that’s pretty amazing.

Surely this is a better way to care – what are we scared of?

http://www.canarycare.co.uk

Using technology to make better choices

“My Mum has vascular dementia so we tried the telecare system – I’m sure you’ve heard of – it’s the button that you press if you have an emergency. She left the pendant on a hook beside her bed, she left it in the kitchen, she left it in the lounge, she left it everywhere apart from where it should have been (around her neck) so it wasn’t effective.

Then we tried a system called Canary Care. It’s a series of transmitters that pick up movement in every room in my Mum’s house. We can see that she wasn’t eating properly because we could see that she wasn’t in the kitchen long enough to prepare a meal; when the heating packed up we knew almost straight away because the temperature had dropped by one degree. More recently we’ve seen that her sleeping has become really erratic and we’ve been able to help with that.

Having information has totally transformed our understanding of my Mum’s dementia.

But it’s just not us, users of systems….have reported that having information has made them feel more in control. It’s given them the confidence to do things they haven’t done. It’s reduced their anxiety and worry because they can see how they are doing and they’ve made better choices because they can understand the impact of things upon their health. Just by having information they’ve made better choices. I think that’s pretty amazing.

There’s much discussion about what the future of healthcare is going to be. The only certain thing is it’s going to be very different from how it is now – it just has to be. My vision is that we move from being a breakdown service to a wellbeing service.

Let’s use technology to make better choices and to stay healthy and in the words of Albert Einstein, a clever person solves a problem but a wise person avoids a problem.”

Melanie Newdick, who cares for her Mum

Cold can kill

We don’t want to be scaremongering we just want people to take simple steps to stay well this winter.

This is a useful little video that show the affect that the cold can have on older and vulnerable people.

Make sure you know when your relative’s home drops below 18 degrees – Canary can send you a text. It could make all the difference.

Canary saved my 82 year old Father’s life

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The following words are from a Canary customer:

 

A few weeks ago Canary saved my 82 year old father’s life. How?

I live 150 miles from my father and am his only relative in the UK.

Each morning when I wake up and turn on my iPhone I get 3 Canary emails. One tells me that my father has got up once in the night (movement detected in bedroom at xxam), one tells me that he has got up next morning (movement detected in bedroom at xxam) and one telling me that the temperature has risen above 25 degrees (this is my father cooking his breakfast in the kitchen). These emails provide remote reassurance that my father is sticking to his normal routine.

One morning a few weeks ago I woke up as normal and turned on my iPhone – no Canary emails. I immediately logged into Canary and from the activity charts could see that the reason there had been no emails that morning was that my father had never left the lounge from the night before.

I immediately called a neighbour who was able to get into the house and found my father unconscious in the lounge. Paramedics were called and he was admitted to hospital with an infection. He came out several days later and has recovered.

Without Canary I would never have known so quickly that my father had a serious problem which had prevented him from going to bed.

Keep developing Canary – it truly is a life saver.

Martin