Artificial intelligence is being deployed in south west London care homes in a bid to reduce falls and hospital visits.
Monitors featuring AI are being installed in residents’ rooms – with their consent – in a pilot scheme spearheaded by the local NHS.
This work is part of the local NHS’ efforts to harness technology and innovation for the benefit of local people. Other projects include virtual wards to help patients recover in their own home instead of hospital and the eRedBag scheme that sees people’s key information transferred electronically and securely from care homes to hospital staff in an emergency.
The AI device monitors sound and motion data to learn normal patterns of noise and movement at night – sending an alert to care staff on a smartphone or tablet if they deviate from usual behaviour.
Data shows that that around one in three adults aged over 65 and half of people aged over 80 will have at least one fall a year, with many breaking bones that require hospital treatment.
As well as the distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence and lack of independence – falls are estimated to cost the NHS more than £2 billion a year.
We’re always keen to embrace innovation that offers better care and support.Dr Navdeep Alg, local GP and clinical lead for the AI project
A similar pilot saw the number of night time falls more than halved and a 20% drop in hospital admissions compared to the previous nine months. It also saw a 75% reduction in the number of unnecessary physical night time checks by staff, freeing their time to the equivalent of about £13,000 per staff member per year for other care planning and support activities.
Dr Navdeep Alg, local GP and clinical lead for the project, said: “We’re always keen to embrace innovation that offers better care and support, whether that’s devices using artificial intelligence in care homes, virtual wards that allow people to recover at home instead of in hospital or the digital version of a scheme to ensure smoother transfers in and out of hospital for care home residents.
“That is why we decided to test this cutting-edge technology that has the potential to substantially prevent night-time care home falls and reduce hospital visits. If our trial proves successful, we will look to roll it out widely to benefit people in care homes across south west London, although of course it won’t totally replace physical checks.”
The technology is being installed in care homes across south west London. It is hoped that several more will join the pilot in the coming months.
Care home staff are being given training to use the systems and there will be ongoing support. The local NHS will monitor the impact and carry out detailed evaluation before deciding on whether to offer the technology to other care homes in south west London.
All South West London NHS trusts have developed ground-breaking ‘virtual wards’ that see a team of highly trained clinical specialists use technology to monitor patients, allowing them to be cared for safely at home and freeing up bed space in hospitals.
More information about virtual wards
The scheme to ensure smoother hospital transfers, first developed in Sutton, saw an ‘electronic red bag’devised to accompany the physical ‘red bag’, is filled with personal possessions that a resident takes with them when they go to hospital from their care home.
The digital ‘eRedBag’ is now being rolled out across south west London and includes information such as the patient’s personal details, GP, NHS number as well as care home notes. It also includes the patient’s medical history, medication and vital signs observations.