Residents benefit from telehealth technology pilot

Residents at a Leeds care home are benefitting from a pilot scheme, funded by NHS England as part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Acceleration Zone, allowing health and care staff to remotely monitor their health.

All 34 residents at Sunnyside Care Home in Crossgates can now have their health assessed using the telehealth service. It enables people to talk directly to senior nurses and doctors – to allow remote assessment of conditions. The technology also helps reduce the need for hospital admissions as any potential health issues can be identified early and treated within the care home before they worsen.

Since the pilot started just before Christmas, staff at Sunnyside have used the technology to help a patient who was nearing the end of their life involving their family member in the care being offered. Other examples included being able to identify a catheter problem and it has already stopped a hospital admission for a resident whose health needs were quickly identified before they escalated.

One patient to benefit is 74 year old Mavis Robinson who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2001. Since being diagnosed, Mavis’s health has steadily worsened.

Julie Brown, director of Camellia and Bluebell Care Services, said: “Since using telehealth we’ve allayed some of the anxiety felt by residents and their family members whenever a health complication arises. People like Mavis, who have a chronic health condition, can often find that their condition can worsen quite quickly. Now my staff have the ability to consult other health care professionals quickly without waiting for a GP or out of hours doctor visit and to get the right treatment in place promptly. This helps reduce the risk of a hospital admission.

“One of my highlights has been how we were able to support Mavis over the festive period when we picked up, through telehealth, a potential decline in her health. Within two hours we’d managed to get in touch with an out of hours pharmacist so that we could get her medication for her pain.”  

Mavis Robinson, resident at Sunnyside Care Home, added: “It’s good to be able to discuss my health with my nurse especially with the information we get from telehealth. I can work with my nurse to see if there’s been any changes to my health. It’s also comforting for me to know that people can check up on me without always having to see me face to face.

“There are times when my GP will need to come in and see me based on the information they’ve got from my telehealth device, this is reassuring and means I can get help much quicker. And I’m really happy if it means I don’t have to go to hospital.”

Sue Robins, director of Commissioning, Strategy and Performance at NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), commented: “We’re delighted to be taking part in the telehealth pilot to help residents like Mavis and support staff at care homes in the city who are involved in the project. It’s important that older people with chronic conditions are seen quickly before their health worsens significantly as this can reduce the need for hospital admission as well as pressure on other areas of the health and care system. We’ll share our learning from the pilot with colleagues regionally and nationally to see how technology could help the NHS in the future.”

Sunnyside Care Home is one of six in Leeds care homes taking part in the pilot with a further eight in Harrogate and another 16 coming on board across West Yorkshire by the end of March 2017.

The telehealth pilot is part of NHS England’s West Yorkshire and Harrogate Acceleration Zone – a new initiative looking at improving urgent and emergency care across the county – that has received funding worth over £8million.


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