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NHS turns to smart meters to monitor people with dementia

Credit: Monday saving expert

A NHS Foundation Trust and a top Liverpool University are using smart meter technology to monitor people living with dementia.

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool John Moores University are hoping the scheme might result in fewer hospital admissions by eradicating falls and accidents.

Experts believe the technology could reduce excessive deterioration in some cases; enabling them to stay in their homes for longer.

The meters, given individuals have consented to them, will monitor daily routines such as cooking dinner or boiling the kettle.

Fifty patients will be monitored by the University and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust to test the technology further.

Preliminary research was carried out by Dr Carl Chalmers and Dr Paul Fergus has paved the way for a trial to start soon.

Dr Chalmers said: “Smart meters replace traditional meters, where you usually have a guy come round to your house taking your meter reading to give you billing.

“Smart meters send the energy report usage in real time back to your energy suppliers. What we are hoping to do is exploit that data, to spot behavioural trends in people with dementia; we are looking at how we can apply machine learning techniques for analysing smart meter data.”

The monitoring system will not require direct interaction from the patient. Instead, data will be collected from individual’s habits and routines through their interaction with electrical devices.

Dr Chalmers said: “As you progress with dementia your body clock becomes more switched around, so you start becoming more active in the evening as opposed to the day time.

“And if you start interacting with appliances in the evening more often, that’s often a good indication to the clinician that you might be progressing with the condition.”

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Tamara Birch