A digital health monitor at a Sunderland supported housing complex is being used to detect illnesses which can help to save lives.
The medical kit, called a Telehealth tablet, is on site at Riverside’s Willow Brook Extra Care scheme in Washington. The portable equipment can take readings including blood pressure, heart and blood sugar levels, which can help identify if a resident is suffering an ailment or is in poor health.
Having it on hand gives peace of mind to those who receive care, and readings can be taken if they are feeling unwell. The machine allows people to receive more frequent health checks, which can reduce hospital admissions by detecting a medical problem early on. It also means that it’s more convenient for residents to have their health monitored and saves time attending medical appointments.
Care staff at Willow Brook have been fully trained to use the machine, and it was while on a training course that it proved to be a valuable resource.
Mark Hagan, a carer at Willow Brook, was learning how to use the equipment and was getting his blood pressure tested when it gave an unusually high reading. The nurse trainer told him to get medical attention straight away.
The 46-year-old dad-of-two said: “We were testing each other’s blood pressure when my reading was really high, 163/115. A normal reading is 120/80. The trainer thought it was faulty so retested my blood pressure again and it was still the same reading. She told me to see a doctor right way. I’m now going for tests and being monitored to find out what the problem is.”
Willow Brook was chosen to pilot the digital equipment by Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group.
Caroline Adams, Care Manager at Willow Brook, said: “A baseline reading is taken when a resident first uses the Telehealth tablet and it is then used as a record to monitor their health when further readings are taken each week.
“The equipment is a great resource for our residents because if they are not feeling well then we can instantly take their blood pressure or monitor their heart to compare readings, then contact medics if anything is wrong.
“A lot of customers are vulnerable and prone to water and chest infections. However this equipment can detect any illnesses early on so they can start treatment straight away before it gets worse, which reduces hospital admissions.
“It is also peace of mind for relatives to know that a medical kit is on-hand if they are feeling unwell.”
Willow Brook is a modern complex that’s home to more than 100 residents and is for people aged over-55 with care needs who want to live independently, feeling safe and secure.
The 79 apartments have one or two bedrooms, which are self-contained. However there are communal areas where activities take place and residents regularly socialise. On site facilities include a restaurant, café, hairdressers, well-being suite, lounges and landscaped gardens.
To find out more about Willow Brook and its facilities visit https://www.riverside.org.uk/in-your-neighbourhood/tyne-and-wear/care-and-support/willow-brook/