Multi-disciplinary team is using assistive technology to improve safety and quality of life for older people and those with long-term health or care needs.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue has partnered with county social services and technology-enabled care services provider Tunstall Healthcare to provide a preventative health and safety provision using telecare.
The scheme, supported by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and its partners, is improving independence and wellbeing for local residents. While its main priority remains fire safety, SFRS is also committed to working within the wider community to provide preventative measures for fire safety, reducing the risk of serious illness from fire or smoke inhalation.
SFRS has implemented a programme to identify priority groups, such as older people and those with long-term health or care needs, and appointed a Community Risk Reduction Specialist and Assistive Technology Lead to offer advice on fire safety and proactively assess risks in people’s homes.
In addition to installing smoke and heat detectors to guard against the risk of fire, other sensors such as fall detectors and bed occupancy sensors can be provided according to the needs of the user. In many cases the system will be linked to a 24-hour monitoring centre at Staffordshire and Rural Homes, who will respond if one of the sensors is triggered, and raises an alert. They may contact a relative or neighbour, or send the emergency services depending on the nature of the alert. The systems are also being used in grouped living environments to support professional carers.
The scheme helps SFRS deliver on some of its eight core objectives, including reducing deaths by fire and making Staffordshire a safer place to live. The early success of the service has attracted interest from other organisations across the UK, who have visited the Bilbrook AT home demonstration centre to find out more about the benefits of telecare and the multi-disciplinary team from SFRS.
Chris Dowding, Community Risk Reduction Specialist and Assistive Technology Lead at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said:
Assistive Technology has a significant role to play in realising the vision of making Staffordshire a safer place to live. We are the only Fire and Rescue Service in England to take this proactive approach and using technology to support independence, and this is evidence of our innovative and holistic approach to delivering the highest standards of service to our communities.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue is also helping people with learning disabilities live more independent lives.
Karen Hipkiss, Support Manager for Affinity Trust which offers community support to those with learning disabilities said:
It’s been remarkable to see what a difference the scheme has made to some of our residents as they continue to adjust to the freedom of living in their new homes. Telecare enables staff to support their increased independence in a safe and efficient way; without it we’d need larger care teams to be able to deliver the same level of support.
Andrew Bailey, Regional Sales Director - West & Wales for Tunstall Healthcare said:
SFRS and its partners are leading by example by demonstrating how integrated working between public services can be cost effective, and assistive technology has been instrumental in helping improve the lives of those with complex needs across the county. We are proud to be working with the Fire and Rescue Service to help improve safety and reduce fire-related fatalities.