Hills partners with medical practices for Lively monitoring

Hills is partnering with two Geelong medical practices to offer the Lively in-home sensor technology to help keep elderly patients living independently at home for longer.

Lively is an attractively designed suite of passive wireless smart sensors that transmit signals to a hub containing a built-in cellular service, meaning there's no need for an internet connection.

The hub sends data to a cloud server where it is displayed on a dashboard, which family and carers can log into to monitor an elderly person's activity. There is also a free smartphone app.

The sensors are designed to attach to a key fob and to kitchen appliances and cupboards such as the fridge door and pantry, which allows the system to monitor whether a person leaves the house and whether they are eating and drinking regularly. There is also a pill box sensor that can monitor daily medication activity.

The sensors are able to learn a person's normal routine, so if there is any deviation, it can send an alert by email.

Lively is a San Francisco-based start-up company established in 2012 that has just added a new personal emergency response safety watch to the suite – not yet available in Australia – with plans to release a clip-on sensor for automatic falls detection next year.

Lively signed a distribution deal with Hills earlier this year and is marketing the range online and through Hills' distribution network for its security alarms. Hills has also just signed a partnership with the Geelong Medical & Health Group, which runs the Myers St Family Medical Practice and The Cottage Medical Centre in Geelong.

The Geelong Medical & Health Group is selling the range through its website, where it has an existing online shopfront for fitness devices and equipment for hire.

Geelong Medical & Health Group general manager Durham Green said that while the shopfront was a new venture for the practices, he doubted it would be a big source of revenue in the near future.

“We’re selling it through the website at the moment, but primarily [we are offering it] as a service to patients,” Mr Green said. “We can see the benefit, for example, for people that have their loved ones or parents in the home but they’re not quite sure whether or not they’re taking their medication right or whether they’re going to the fridge and getting food.”

Mr Green said systems such as Lively would allow older people's carers to discreetly check on their wellbeing without constantly having to ask. For GPs, it would also take some of the guesswork out of deciding whether or not to refer the patient to other services.

“We'll know when we need to stop and think about what other services we have to arrange, rather than guessing, whether it be getting extra rails or access in the house or providing nursing services or RDNS to help that person stay in their house.

“It also gives us the opportunity to be able to engage the patient more, so instead of seeing them once a year we might see them two or three times a year. We might go out and do an over-75 health assessment and we can actually see, on the enterprise dashboard, 'OK, the patient’s doing this.'

”And when we ask the questions we can pick up those cues, as in 'hang on, they’re telling us they’re doing something, but there’s no evidence to prove that.' And discreetly we’ll input mechanisms to ensure they’re getting the support they need.”

Head of Hills Health Solutions Peta Jurd said Lively was an extremely clever and practical application of technology.

“Our research shows that three in five adult children worry about something happening to their elderly parents when they’re not with them,” Ms Jurd said.

“It also shows that just one in five elderly Australians aged over 70 ask for help when they’re not feeling 100 per cent. This technology provides comfort and independence to an ageing population but also addresses concerns felt by their loved ones.”

Mr Green said Lively’s ability to track whether elderly patients are opening their pill boxes, getting food out of the fridge or leaving the house would provide invaluable insights and peace of mind.

Lively also comes with an optional service that collects photos and greetings from family members and condenses them into 'LivelyGrams' that can be emailed to the older person every month.

Hills itself is working on developing a new nurse call handset for aged care residents with arthritis or limited dexterity in partnership with the University of South Australia. A project team from UniSA is working at the new Hills Innovation Centre in Adelaide to develop the handset.

Hills now owns two of the major brands in nurse call systems – Merlon and Questek – and is active in both the aged and acute care markets.

Posted in Aged Care

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