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NHS to start new smart meter trial to monitor dementia symptoms

The trial is set to take place in October 2019 with 50 patients, thanks to work by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University and Mersey Care NHS Trust. If the smart meters prove effective in tracking the general health and welfare of the dementia patients, then the trial will be extended to include 1,000 patients across four NHS trusts. The idea of using smart meters in this way was sparked by the UK government campaign to install a smart meter in every home by 2020 to improve energy efficiency (though this scheme is running significantly behind target.)

What will the smart meters do?

The idea behind the smart meters is that they will be able to track a patient’s daily routine – everything from turning on the kettle to doing the dishes. The meter will then issue an alert to family members or carers if it monitors any sudden changes in behaviour that could indicate mental deterioration or an accident.

How can smart meters benefit those living with dementia?

Experts believe that the smart meters will enable people living with dementia to live independently in their own homes for longer by providing a reliable safety net. There are approximately 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK, with this number expected to double in the next 30 years.

Consultant psychiatrist at Mersey Care NHS Trust, Dr Sudip Sikdar, stated: "With dementia patients, one of their biggest problems is a failure to carry out daily activities.

"Nearly a third of dementia patients live on their own and they may have carers or they may have family members who visit a couple of times a week and monitor them. 

We often find it takes a week or two before someone notices if they deteriorate. If you can intervene early, put in the care package, then the patient would not need to go into a care home.

It’s preventing both hospital admissions and placements in care homes, both of which are extremely expensive."

Helping to preserve the independence of our clients for as long as possible is at the forefront of what we do at Burley's Home Care. Whether you need to arrange frequent welfare checks for your loved one, or are living with dementia yourself and would like a helping hand, we can help. Contact us today to find out more.