Gloucestershire partnership provides greater independence for dementia sufferers

Skyguard and Gloucestershire Telecare join forces to deliver MySOS personal safety devices to dementia and Alzheimer's patients

The MySOS personal safety device

Skyguard is working with Gloucestershire Telecare to help dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers lead more independent and safer lives.

Gloucestershire Telecare - a service funded jointly by NHS Gloucestershire Care Services and Gloucestershire County Council - has invested in 90 of Skyguard’s MySOS personal safety devices for those under their care.

The MySOS has helped so many of those living with the condition to continue to lead independent lives and give their family the peace of mind that they so desperately need

The key-fob sized alarms are the smallest available in Europe which incorporate GPS and mobile phone technology. Designed with convenience in mind, they can be worn as a pendant, attached to belt, keyring, or carried in a pocket or handbag.

Should the user go wandering and lose their way, a press of the SOS button will connect them to Skyguard’s 24-hour incident management centre. Here, trained controllers can view their GPS location, pre-registered information and emergency contacts. They will be able to listen in and talk to the user and decide the best course of action – calling the emergency services, a carer or relative. Alternatively, the SOS button can be configured to call and sends its location directly to a nominated emergency contact.

If the user is too disorientated to call for help themselves, their carer can send a text message to the device – which will reply with its map location, viewable on a smartphone.

The benefits of the device were immediately obvious to Gloucestershire Telecare, as Jessica Murfitt, advanced telecare technician, explains: “After trialling a few options, we chose to purchase Skyguard devices as they could be tailored to meet the needs of our service users with dementia, Alzheimer’s and learning difficulties.

“If the user gets lost, their family can just text the device to find out their precise location.”

“The MySOS has helped so many of those living with the condition to continue to lead independent lives and give their family the peace of mind that they so desperately need. They’ve described having it as ‘a big relief’, which is great.”

“We’ve also had instances where they have needed to raise the alarm when they find themselves in an unfamiliar area and cannot remember their way home. However, Skyguard’s controllers are always on hand to help guide and assist them while contacting their relatives.”

Having a long-term medical condition such as Alzheimer’s puts an incredible strain on the sufferer, their family and the local authority’s resources. By harnessing new technology, we can significantly reduce that burden all-round

Skyguard’s marketing director, Will Murray, added: “We’re delighted to work with Gloucestershire Telecare by providing solutions which really make a difference to people’s lives, on a daily basis.”

“Having a long-term medical condition such as Alzheimer’s puts an incredible strain on the sufferer, their family and the local authority’s resources. By harnessing new technology, we can significantly reduce that burden all-round.”

In September, Skyguard was awarded an OJEU tender as an approved supplier on NHS Supply Chain’s Framework Agreement for Electronic Assistive Technology Products. The framework allows NHS trusts, healthcare providers, and government agencies to buy Telecare products directly from suppliers, or via NHS Supply Chain.

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