What is TIHM for dementia?

About the study

TIHM (Technology Integrated Health Management) for dementia is a  major cutting edge technology study that aims to transform support for people with dementia and their carers.

The two year study is led by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and is funded by the Department of Health. It is one of seven test beds unveiled by NHS England in 2016 to look at new approaches to supporting people with complex, long term health conditions.

TIHM for dementia is for people with mild to moderate dementia who live at home in Surrey or North East Hampshire and who have a regular carer who is also willing to get involved in the study. The main aims of the study are to improve the lives of people with dementia by supporting them to stay safe and well in their own homes and to reduce pressure on carers.

TIHM for dementia is a smart technology study that uses a network of small technological devices, connected via the Internet of Things, that are installed in a person's home. These devices  allow clinicians to remotely monitor a person's health, well-being and environment round the clock and in real time.  If the technology identifies a health or safety problem, clinicians are immediately notified and can step in to offer support. This may, for example, involve a call to the carer to alert them to a potential problem or, if the carer is not nearby, arranging for an  Alzheimer's Society Dementia Navigator to visit. If the technology identifies a crisis,  the emergency services will be contacted.

Most of the technological devices installed in people's homes will be in the background collecting information. For example, sensors can measure a person's movements round the home and identify if they have had a fall. Some devices, such as a GPS tracker, can be worn and will alert clinicians if a person has wandered too far from home. Others, such as weight and hydration scales and a blood pressure cuff, require a person to interact with the device. But the devices are not difficult to use and both the person with dementia and the carer will be shown how to use them.

The data collected by all of these devices is analysed and machine learning algorithms are also used to detect if a person is following their usual patterns of behaviour. For example, sensors on fridges, kettles and toasters can collect data about usage that is then used to analyse if someone is eating and drinking as usual.

For more information about the study, download our information leaflet

We are in the process of recruiting 1400 people onto the study.  TIHM for dementia is designed to work alongside the existing care a person receives and will not replace that support. Key partners in the study include: University of Surrey,  Royal Holloway University of London, Alzheimer's Society, the six clinical commissioning groups for Surrey and North East Hampshire, Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network and eight technology companies.

What are the keys aims of the study

It is hoped  the increased level of support provided by the technology will:

  • help people with dementia to stay well at home and avoid accident and emergency admissions
  • help people with dementia to feel more confident living at home so that  they can delay  or avoid care home admission and stay independent for longer
  • reduce pressure on carers so that they can have some peace of mind when they are not with the person they are caring for
  • provide clinicians with up to date and detailed health data to help strengthen research into the condition

To find out more about TIHM for dementia, listen to the clip below: