Health Minister praises our technology for dementia study

Minister for Public Health and Innovation, Nicola Blackwood, has welcomed our new cutting edge technology study

Minister for Public Health and Innovation, Nicola Blackwood, this week visited the team working on the UK’s first ‘Internet of Things’ technology study that aims to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers.

The Minister’s visit was part of a fact-finding mission to learn more about the technology involved in the TIHM for dementia study, the potential benefits for those taking part and how easily the technology could be scaled up to support people across the country if the study is successful.

TIHM (Technology Integrated Health Management) for dementia is being offered to people with dementia who live at home in Surrey or North East Hampshire.  It involves a network of small technological devices that are installed in the home allowing clinicians to remotely monitor a person’s health, wellbeing and environment.  If the technology identifies a health or safety problem, clinicians are immediately notified and can step in to offer support.

People consented onto the study are to begin receiving the technology in their homes from this week. On overage, 60 homes a month will receive the technology until the end of September.

During the Minister’s visit to the University of Surrey, one of our key partners in the TIHM for dementia study, she saw the technology in action in a ‘mock up home’ environment.

She also spoke to people with dementia and their carers who are already trialling the technology as part of our recently formed Trusted User Group. The Trusted User Group of 20 people  will run alongside the main study to provide us with ongoing user feedback.

Nicola Blackwood, Minster for Public Health and Innovation, said: “It is vital that the NHS exploits the potential of technology to create more efficient, personalised and sustainable services for patients. The fantastic work taking place in Surrey is using innovative technologies to deliver the best care possible to people with complex, long term health conditions.

I am particularly grateful to the people engaged in the study, both patients and carers, who are living with dementia.  Without their contribution we simply could not realise the improvements to care that technology enables today and for future generations.”

This visit follows the Government’s recent announcement to transform mental health support across the country.

Dr Helen Rostill, our Director of Innovation and Development, who is leading the study, said: “We are delighted the Minister has visited us to find out more about this important study. We have had a fantastic response to the study so far, both from health and social care professionals and those who have signed up to take part. They clearly feel TIHM for dementia has the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

TIHM for dementia is continuing to recruit people from across Surrey and North East Hampshire to take part in the study. To participate, a person must live at home and have a diagnosis of dementia – mild to moderate. They should also have a regular carer who can be a partner, friend, relative or paid carer who is willing to get involved.

To find out more about TIHM for dementia and express an interest to get involved, go to: www.sabp.nhs.uk/tihm. You can also discuss the study with our research team at Surrey and Borders Partnership on: 01932 722247

TIHM for dementia is funded by the Department of Health and overseen by NHS England and Innovate UK.  It is one of seven test beds unveiled by NHS England early last year to look at new ways to support people with complex health problems.

We are working closely with a group of key partners on the study. They include: the University of Surrey, Royal Holloway University of London, the Alzheimer’Society, the Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network, the six clinical commissioning groups for Surrey and North East Hampshire and eight technology companies: Docobo, Halliday James, Safe Patient Systems, Arqiva, Vision 360, Intelesant, Sensely and Yecco.