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£5M trial in Surrey and North East Hampshire could transform the lives of dementia patients


6:02am 19th September 2016
(Updated 2:29pm 19th September 2016)

Would you open up your home to state of the art robotics?

Fourteen hundred dementia patients and their carers are being asked to do just that.

It is all part of a £5M trial by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust.

The trial, the first of its kind in the UK, could mean more independence and longer lives for older people with long term health problems. 

TIHM or dementia (Technology Integrated Health Management) sees small devices, created in partnership with the University of Surrey and a number of other organisations, placed around the home.

The sensors, apps and trackers monitor a patient's health and patterns of behaviour - and talk to each other, identifying when there is a problem and alerting emergency care staff.

Rob Stanley cares for his wife Pippa in Surrey.

He said taking part in the trial will mean more independence for them both: "I have to get her up, help her get washed, help her get dressed.

"I do all the cooking, the washing, medication.

"As her blindness progresses it is more difficult.

"I think some of the devices and the monitoring processes could help me as a carer have a clearer picture of how my wife is getting on."

If alerted by the devices, health professionals can connect to the patient's home by video call.

If the patient is in trouble and unable to answer they can even move the camera to look around the home.


Rob added: "If Pip goes off on her own then me knowing where she is is absolutely vital. 

"But she is increasingly unable to do things on her own - so for example if I want to go out I would have to have locked her in the house - or I can use the devices in the project to put my mind at rest."

Healthcare professionals, or the carer, can access a map to see where a patient is.

A panic button allows the patient to call for help and send their location in an emergency.


Dr Payam Barnaghi, Reader in machine intelligence at the University of Surrey, told Eagle Radio a little more about the technology.

He says collecting this sort of information could mean detecting patterns of behaviour or illness quicker than if a patient presents themselves to a doctor:

To take part in the trial you must live in Surrey or North East Hampshire and have a diagnosis of mild to moderate dementia.

You must also have a carer who is willing to participate in the study.

Half of the people with dementia will be randomly selected to receive the technology. The remaining half will form the control group and continue to care as usual.

To sign up for the trial click here.

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