The project, which will last for two years, will put the consortium at the forefront of delivering fundamental change in the delivery of care in the UK.
Working alongside a series of partners, the ‘Internet of Things’ Test Bed will demonstrate how the use of network-enabled devices such as monitors, robotics and wearables will be able to provide better healthcare for older people in the comfort of their own homes. With the use of remote-connectivity, carers will also be able to monitor the behaviour of the person they are caring for without needing to be at their specific location.
Surrey and Borders is one of two NHS Trusts delivering the ‘Internet of Things’ Test Bed projects, which has an emphasis on trialling different combinations of technology and devices throughout its duration.
Surrey and Borders NHS Trust, who is leading the project, will be working with the University of Surrey, Royal Holloway University of London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network, the Alzheimer’s Society, local clinical commissioning groups and a number of charities.
In Surrey 6,606 people have a formal diagnosis of dementia although it is estimated that around 16,800 people have some form of the condition. In 2013 18% of the county’s population was over the age of 65; this is due to rise to 25% by 2037.
Professor Lisa Roberts, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, said: “This award is a fabulous outcome of partnership working. We are delighted to be working with our NHS and industrial partners on research that will lead to better care.
“The University’s Innovation for Health programme is a cross-faculty initiative focused on training the clinical workforce of tomorrow and developing the healthcare technology of the future; this research project is a great example of the multi-disciplinary work going on in this programme, with colleagues across all faculties involved. It is this type of partnership working that will lead to major health improvements.”
Professor Roma Maguire, Professor of e-Health, said: “I am delighted to be involved in a project that has a significant potential to improve the outcomes of people with dementia and their families through the use of innovative technologies. The University of Surrey is leading the academic evaluation of the project, producing vital evidence on the benefit of the ‘Internet of Things’ testbed.”
Dr Payam Barnaghi, Project Technology Lead at the University of Surrey, said: “The ‘Internet of Things’ testbed will provide continuous monitoring and observation data in a secure environment and will provide mechanisms to extract information. This in turn will support better and faster decision making for caregivers, clinical teams and support groups.”
Fiona Edwards, Chief Executive of Surrey and Borders, said: “I’m really excited that we have been given this opportunity to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their families. With a growing elderly population who are likely to experience long-term physical and mental health conditions, innovative new technologies such as those we are trialling through the Internet of Things project will help more people to receive the support they need to live well in their own homes.
“It is also about improving responsiveness of the health and care system, providing support at an earlier stage and reducing the amount of time people spend in hospital.”
The project will take results from approximately 700 people, more than 10% of those on the dementia register in Surrey.
The grant, funded by NHS England and Innovate UK, comes as part of the NHS Innovation Test Beds, a series of different projects that aim to modernise health care to benefit older patients and people with long-term health problems.
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