Emergency alarm services

Case studies

Mr K – Stand alone telecare equipment

Mr K has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, learning difficulties and a history of chest infections.

He lives in an extra sheltered housing scheme with 24hour waking night staff. Before the introduction of any telecare equipment it was necessary for the on site care staff to regularly look in on Mr K to ensure he was ok. This meant that with frequent visits his independence was challenged and consequently this had an effect on his dignity and quality of life.

To improve his level of independence whilst maintaining his safety and well-being, it was decided to install some stand alone telecare equipment. Because of his high risk of falling, particularly when having an epileptic seizure, a fall detector and bed occupancy sensor were supplied. By wearing the fall detector during the day time, it would automatically trigger in the event of a fall, which then generates a call on the carer alert unit situated in the carer’s station. Equally, during the night, if he gets up from his bed, putting himself at risk of falling, the sensor activates a call on the carer alert. If the carer is elsewhere in the building, they will be alerted to an activation by the vibrating portable pager they carry with them.

Stand alone equipment is so named because it does not connect to a remote monitoring centre by way of a telephone line. Consequently, there is no monitoring cost to the service user.

Mrs L – Telecare for falls and memory loss

Mrs L is a lady in her 80s. She had a stroke seven years ago which affected her left side resulting in unsteady mobility loss of dexterity in her left arm and hand. It also caused some short term memory loss and confusion. She uses a rollator frame to mobilise.

Mrs L has regular visits during the day from a homecare agency and her son, who lives some distance away, visits and stays for a few days every week. During the night she is alone in her flat.

Mrs L first had a community alarm with pendant installed in 2008 but then with her decreasing mobility and the loss of some cognitive ability it was decided to increase the amount of telecare equipment installed.

She was supplied with a fall detector pendant which would automatically activate the alarm unit if a fall is detected along with a bed sensor which would trigger a call in the event she gets up in the night but then does not return to bed within 30 minutes. Additionally to protect her, her property and the neighbouring flats, a smoke detector and auto-gas shut-off valve were fitted. Both sensors will generate a call to the control centre via the alarm unit in the event they are activated. The auto-gas shut-off valve is fitted to the gas supply to the cooker. If a gas ring is turned on but not lit, the gas detector will trigger and automatically shut off the gas supply to the cooker. Simultaneously, it will generate a call from the alarm unit.

The installation of this equipment has meant that Mrs L has been able to remain with her own home safely, maintain her independence and giving reassurance to her son and the carers looking after her.

Mrs A – Telecare to address dementia

Mrs A is a lady in her 70s diagnosed with dementia, angina and cataracts in both eyes.

She was referred for a telecare assessment when she began to leave the gas on but unlit on the cooker and also to go out of the front door into the street putting herself at risk of walking into traffic or becoming confused while out. This was seen as a result of her dementia.

Her adult son, who lives with her, is her main carer, but also has to go out to work. He himself has a substantial sight and hearing impairment. They live in a large Edwardian house.

During the assessment it was agreed that an auto-gas shut-valve system was needed to reduce the risk of fire and potential explosion from a build up of un-combusted natural gas. The shut-off valve is fitted to the gas supply pipe to the cooker and in conjunction with a gas detector will shut off the gas to the cooker if excess gas is detected. Simultaneously, the detector will trigger the alarm unit to generate a call to the control centre. Additionally, smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors were installed to improve the safety of the occupants and reduce damage to the property.

To address the problem of the service user leaving the home un-escorted and putting herself at risk, door sensors with a switchable on-off key switch were fitted to the front door leading to the street. If the door is opened while the switch is on, it will trigger the alarm to make a call.

As Mrs A’s son is on site for some times during the day and usually all night, a pager transmitter is attached to the alarm unit which delays the call to the monitoring centre and activates a portable pager and vibrating pillow alert that the son keeps with him whilst he is in the house. If the son does not cancel the call down from the alarm unit before the delay completes, a call will still be generated to the monitoring centre.