Mrs Gerard has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), suffers blackouts, and her short term memory is failing, but she is keen to stay in her own home. Her daughter, Suzanne, who lives close by, has a young family as well as her mother to care for. Over the past year Suzanne was run ragged worrying about her mother, calling on her several times a day to check that she was OK.
In recent years, Mrs Gerard has had 3 hospital admissions, during which she has been confused and disorientated by the unfamiliar surroundings.
Essex County Council provided a community alarm, smoke detector, and temperature sensor, all of which will alert a call centre if activated, plus a Magi plug to warn of scalding water. Essex also commissioned a Just Checking system to support Suzanne.
Suzanne logs on first thing in the morning to check what sort of night her mother has had, rather than feeling she should go straight round to the house. It means she is now able to drop the children off at school and manage after-school activities alongside caring for her mother. If the night has been disturbed Suzanne is prepared for a day in which her mother may be tired and fractious. Knowing she is able to check her mother’s patterns of activity, Suzanne has allowed herself to get back to the gym too.
In the first 3 months after the telecare package was installed, Suzanne has, on two occasions, spotted that all was not well, and was able to step in quickly. She is convinced that these early interventions avoided a hospital admission. On one morning, unusually her mother was still in bed. Going round to the house Suzanne found her mother was semi-comatose and needed rousing. On another occasion, frequent visits to the bathroom throughout the night alerted Suzanne to a urinary tract infection, which was dealt with quickly and effectively by the GP. Mrs Gerard’s mental frailty means she is unable to recognise signs of deteriorating health herself.
Just Checking helps the family to manage other care services too. An evening home care call lasted only a few minutes, although the carer had signed as being at the house for half an hour. And while on a recent family holiday, Suzanne was able to log on each day to check that the care arrangements were taking place as planned. Suzanne smiles …
“I got back my life.”