The government has advised people to stay at home during the current coronavirus pandemic, but there is still a need for healthcare technology to be deployed to help the elderly and vulnerable to remain safe at home, and for it to assist in the discharge of patients from hospital to home. Tunstall Healthcare has responded by developing three new solutions: Tunstall Response, Tunstall Connect and Tunstall Integrated Care Platform.
Tunstall is at the forefront of technology innovation for health, housing and social care. Its pioneering software, hardware and services enable new delivery models which can transform community-based health and social care by providing remote support which enables people to live independently and with an improved quality of life. Tunstall is now harnessing its expertise and resources to offer increased support to older and vulnerable people as they self-isolate and shield at home, alleviating pressure on social services and the NHS.
“Tunstall has always played a role in helping to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and reduce pressure on statutory services by enabling people to be safe at home and in the community,” says Gavin Bashar, MD of Tunstall Healthcare. “After the Covid-19 outbreak, we have examined ways we can do even more to help our customers and the people they support. We have developed a range of new propositions to help local authorities, housing associations and their community alarm monitoring centres to continue to deliver their vital services, alleviating pressure and supporting critical areas of the healthcare system while we fight the pandemic.”
Tunstall’s primary propositions during the Covid-19 outbreak either support individuals in the care system directly, or provide solutions for NHS, local authorities and housing associations.
The Tunstall Response proactive call service uses our existing community alarm service, which enables older and vulnerable people throughout the UK to easily get help in an emergency, using a home unit and worn pendant which connects them to a 24-hour response centre.
“Through regular outbound calls, operators can check in, offer advice and appropriately escalate any deterioration in wellbeing to other service providers, particularly where people are in self-isolation or at high risk from Covid-19,” explains Bashar. “We’re also introducing a smart device app, Tunstall Connect, which can enable Tunstall Response to keep in touch with vulnerable people who are self-isolating, without the need for a traditional community alarm system.”
The Tunstall Integrated Care Platform enables sophisticated remote health monitoring. Clinicians can then remotely review the data via an online portal, using a colour-coded dashboard to identify patients most in need of intervention. This solution is proven to support management of chronic illness, and can provide support for patients recently discharged from hospital as well as helping to prevent readmission by identifying deterioration at an early stage.
For people at high risk because of a long-term condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the Tunstall Integrated Care Platform enables remote health monitoring. Patients download an app which allows them to record vital signs and answer health questionnaires at home. Plus, we have recently introduced specific COVID-19 and self-isolation questionnaires in response to the current crisis.
Established more than 60 years ago, Tunstall created the familiar red button and pull-cord emergency response system, often known as community alarms. Since then, it has continued to pioneer technology that has improved the lives of millions of people around the world, including those living with dementia, learning disabilities, physical disabilities and long-term health conditions.
Tunstall works closely with local authorities across the UK, providing them with technology systems which enable people to easily get help from a specialist community alarm monitoring centre in an emergency, 24 hours a day. Where councils don’t have their own monitoring centre, Tunstall Response can monitor citizens on their behalf.
Tunstall’s technology solutions have developed over time to become more than an “emergency button”, and can now detect events such as a fall, fire or flood in the home and automatically raise an alert at the centre, who can then send appropriate help. Tunstall’s remote health monitoring systems enable people with long-term conditions to monitor their signs and symptoms at home, with clinicians able to view the data online and intervene before more complex care is required.
“Technology solutions from Tunstall Healthcare can greatly reduce the pressure on the NHS by enabling social care and housing providers to support people effectively at home,” continues Bashar. “They can prevent admission to hospital by reducing the impact of self-isolation and mitigating the adverse effects of incidents such as falls by enabling a rapid response. Systems can also be deployed as part of a package of care to enable people to be discharged from hospital more quickly, freeing up vital hospital beds.
“As Covid-19 presents the worst public health crisis for a generation, technology can not only help to address some of the immediate challenges presented by the current emergency, but can also provide a robust platform for future health and care delivery, connecting people to enable more proactive and preventative care and ensuring a resilient network is already in place should we ever face such a crisis again.”
Case study – benefits of proactive calling
Tunstall supports more than 320,000 people across Spain with its teleassistance service, which combines remote monitoring and response, coordinates social care and third-party services and delivers proactive outbound contact from monitoring centres to older and vulnerable people in the community. Support is tiered according to need, which helps to focus care services on the areas where they will deliver the best outcomes. A recent survey of users of the service found that:
• 96.1 per cent reported improved safety
• 98.3 per cent reported improved family relief
• 92.3 per cent reported decreased loneliness
• 78 per cent reported improved ability to live alone
• 35 per cent reported fewer calls to emergency services
Further information can be found at www.tunstall.co.uk/covid-19-solutions