NHS Technology Grant Helps Charity Integrate Acoustic Monitors With Its Care Planning Software For Additional Safety
Friends of the Elderly, the UK charity which runs care homes and support services for older people across England, is taking the innovative step to install Wireless Acoustic Monitors across its care homes as an additional safety measure for its residents.

The charity was awarded a Social Care Digital Pathfinders Grant of £295,000 as part of NHS Digital’s Digital Pathfinders project, which promotes wide scale adoption of digital solutions. To achieve the roll-out of the cutting-edge technology, Friends of the Elderly has been working with care planning software provider KareInn; and Ally, who provide wireless acoustic monitoring systems which deploy artificial intelligence. The project has been running for six months, with early signs of improved health outcomes for residents.

The system is already making a positive impact. One example was at Bradbury Court, one of Friends of the Elderly’s dementia care homes in Malvern. During the night, the Wireless Acoustic Monitor alerted the night staff team to a resident who was in distress. The care home team was immediately alerted to the resident’s situation and were able to assist her straight away and call an ambulance. The resident had suffered a cardiac arrest but is now fully recovered and returned to the care home two days later.
The resident’s daughter said: “Without the new system, Mum’s cardiac arrest could have potentially not been detected until the next scheduled check. I am so grateful Friends of the Elderly has implemented this innovative system.”

Commenting on the new system, Friends of the Elderly’s Chief Executive, Steve Allen, said: “By working with the teams at Karelnn and Ally, supported by NHS Digital, we now have an integrated solution – linking acoustic monitoring to electronic care planning – which will continue to support us in providing the best possible care. This has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, in allowing us to respond responding to any concerns or illness more quickly.”

Thomas Tredinnick, CEO at Ally said: “Since the onset of Coronavirus we have invested heavily in our artificial intelligence technology to not only learn to alert staff when residents need assistance but also to automatically track coughing fits to help identify symptomatic residents earlier. We are proud to have helped staff safely isolate residents earlier and therefore reduce the risk of transmission in care homes.”

Rachelle Mills, CEO at KareInn added: “It is the power of the combined technologies which makes this a unique solution. This system is delivering better resident health and wellbeing and is helping alleviate pressures on wider services such as GPs and hospital admissions. Our data has shown that, since implementation, there has been a 55% reduction in night-time falls and a 20% reduction in hospital admissions at Friends of the Elderly.

James Palmer, Social Care Programme Head from NHS Digital commented: “We are delighted to see this Pathfinder project is already making an impact and improving the lives of older people. We look forward to hearing more about the outcomes as the project progresses and learning how it could benefit the whole health and social care system.”