Older people are being given smart watches to help them stay safe and independent in their own homes.

City of York Council is among several local authorities to trial wearable technology as part of its long-term social care strategy.

The council has been working with social care technology specialist Sensing247 and its partner Pinacl, a leader in digital transformation.
The smart watches can monitor a range of indicators including body temperature, heart rate and sleep patterns as well as tracking step count to see how active someone has been.

The devices are useful in many different health scenarios including patients who are being released from hospital or have a health condition that needs to be monitored. Another use would be monitoring patients who have recently had coronavirus.

The wearable technology is supported by state-of-the-art sensors in a home that can collate a range of data. This includes capturing temperature and humidity, movement, how often doors open and close and power consumption. There is also a panic button sensor used to call for help.

Meanwhile, Sensing247’s Oximeter device that monitors blood oxygen saturation levels and a blood pressure device are being trialled by Age UK. Both provide alerts to registered contacts based on reading levels.

The data is collected via a gateway connected to 3G/4G mobile or broadband and transferred to a Cloud platform for real-time monitoring and analysis.
Mark Lowe, Pinacl’s Business Development Director, said: “York is a real trailblazer in looking at harnessing innovative and disruptive technology for the benefit of older people in the city.

“The combination of wearable and sensor technology has the potential to be a genuine game-changer for pre-emptive and outcome-based care.

“We are also seeing lots of enquiries from local authorities and social care providers faced with the challenges of looking after the elderly as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic when access to people’s homes is still heavily restricted.

“Our solutions provide real-time data when you need it and without needing to visit someone’s home.”

Roy Grant, head of ICT & Digital Services, City of York Council, said:
“Residents tell us that they want to stay independent in their own homes and mobile for as long as possible.

“To help make this happen, we are assessing our ability to reduce some of the impacts of isolation while also helping and supporting our Social Care colleagues in these challenging times.

“We are hopeful these solutions can also help us address the unprecedented budget pressure that we and other local authorities are facing.”