Southend turns to technology to help citizens self-manage long-term conditions
Town identifies key targets for ‘technology-enabled care’ plans
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is exploring the possibilities of how technology could help people with long-term mental or physical difficulties administer their own care and reduce the burden on GP surgeries and hospitals.
The council “wishes to explore the potential of technology-enabled care” and has commenced an early-engagement exercise to gauge the interest and credentials of possible suppliers. The Essex town (pictured is Southend pier) is interested in finding products that will allow “more people [to take] personal responsibility for their own health and wellbeing”.
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To this end, the council has identified four key targets that it believes technology could help deliver on.
First, Southend is hoping to reduce the number of GP visits that are not prompted by medical conditions, but by “loneliness and social isolation”. Second, the council wishes to allow sufferers of long-term conditions – particularly respiratory problems – to self-manage their care regime, with professional intervention only taking place when it is “triggered by exception, through alerts”.
Third, the town hopes to use technology to reduce the number of admissions to accident and emergency wards caused by “underlying long-term conditions and falls”. Finally, Southend wishes to reduce the average length of stay in residential care homes for the elderly by finding technology that would allow people to live independently for longer.
Alongside this, the council – in partnership with Southend Clinical Commissioning Group and South Essex Homes – is planning a pilot exercise in which a residential independent living facility is turned into a “Living Laboratory”, where a range of assistive technology is used to “to address the issues of loneliness, self-management of long-term condition, and falls”.
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