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Bristol plans to step up use of assistive tech


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Carer showing smartphone to old lady
Image source: Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council has announced plans to expand its use of assistive technology in adult social care, with a £700,000 investment in an expansion of its Better Lives programme.

Its cabinet approved the new spend last month, along with a joint application with neighbouring local authorities for a share of the NHS Adult Social Care Digital Transformation Fund.

The council emphasised the potential for technologies such as bed sensors, fall detectors, medication dispensers and mobile apps to support vulnerable people.

Cllr Helen Holland, cabinet member for adult social care and the integrated care system, said: “In Bristol we are using TEC (technology enabled care) in really creative ways, for example, providing simple gadgets that help combat isolation for those who live alone, and installing safety alerts that empower people, helping them live how they wish, while also reassuring their families.

“Some low level interventions are potentially life changing. Using technology in this way means people can remain in their own homes for longer which evidence shows us is a positive thing.”

She added that the package also involves training for health and care professionals in the use of the technology.

Trials across region

Bristol said that if the application to NHS fund is successful the money will be used to run a series of trials across the city, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire on technologies including acoustic monitoring and Whzan Blue Boxes.

The latter are early warning units that perform multiple assessments and detect signs of deterioration or illness in a vulnerable person. There are currently plans to run pilots of their use in three care homes in Bristol, followed by a wider roll out.

The council is also planning implement acoustic monitoring in care homes next year.

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