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New remote bed monitoring technology helps reduce hospital admissions from care homes

Remote technology is now being used to monitor more than 1,600 care home beds across the Black Country to manage the health of residents.

Senior Staff Nurse Jane Booth and care home resident Tessa

Funded by NHS England, the remote monitoring system from Docobo reduces the need for emergency hospital admissions and GP appointments, as well as save clinical staff from hours of admin.

Care home staff use tablet devices linked to health tools, such as blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and thermometers to regularly record the vital signs of residents.

Readings are then securely transferred to a team of clinicians who are on hand to give timely advice, monitor for gradual deterioration and ensure that any issues are picked up quickly, reducing the need for hospital intervention.

In the Black Country, more than 30 care homes have implemented Docobo’s remote monitoring system to date, with many more scheduled as the rollout continues.

This has led to a 18.5 per cent reduction in hospital admissions, a 9.5 per cent reduction in hospital readmissions and a 12.3 per cent reduction in ambulance conveyances, as well as a 5.1 per cent reduction in 111 calls.

The NHS has created a short video on how this remote monitoring technology is having a positive impact at a care home in Wolverhampton. You can watch the video on YouTube here.

Zoe Taylor is an advanced nurse practitioner and clinical lead for the enhanced health and care home team in Wolverhampton. She said: “All care home staff using the remote monitoring system are fully trained to ensure they can confidently use the equipment and accurately input the data.

"This involves working through a set of questions for each resident which helps us build a picture of their overall health. We also work with the care home to set up parameters for each resident so if their observations fall outside of these, an alert is sent straight away.

“We can then triage the alert and immediately step in with the most appropriate action, which might be as simple as carrying out increased observations to monitor a patient more closely, tweaking a patient’s medication or prescribing a course of antibiotics, all of which can be done remotely.

“We know that typically care homes tend to be very high users of NHS services and usually have a number of residents with a lot of complex health issues. However, by using this remote monitoring technology, any deterioration in their health can be detected and treated quickly."

Jane Booth is a Senior Staff Nurse at Atholl House Nursing Home in Wolverhampton and features in the video.

She said: “The remote monitoring is easy to use and really helps our residents. We have a set of simple questions that we run through for each resident using the tablet, and we then record their vital signs using a thermometer, blood pressure monitor and an oximeter which only takes a few minutes."

Mike Hastings, Digital Director for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “Across the Black Country, we are developing innovative new schemes to support people’s health needs in their own setting with remote monitoring technology.

“The benefits are huge - both patients and family members can be reassured that their health is being monitored, and clinicians can pick up any health concerns early to reduce deterioration.

"It also means that the NHS can work in a smarter and more productive way, directing resources to those who need it, when they need it."

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