“Cognitive impairment, whatever the cause creates a massive impact on the life of sufferers. They can have trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating or making decisions that affect their everyday life.
Our telecare service was asked to help service users with a variety of diagnoses, including:
- a member of the armed forces who had an acquired brain injury
- a service user who had brain a haemorrhage, a service user who suffered a brain tumour
- a service user who was injured in a road traffic accident.
- various types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s
These service users are all relatively young people, with young children who struggle with short term memory loss and forgetting household tasks and appointments. Most of them have insight and are responsive to solutions to help them remember. In June 2015, we put in place 8 myhomehelper units, to assist with daily activities and they immediately became a very important part their lifestyle.
All of the service users said that they had previously got appointments muddled up, and that they feel like they were constantly apologising and explaining their medical history. myhomehelper assisted the service users with their daily / weekly plans and helped them to get to their appointments on time. Being reminded of appointments has helped with their attendance rates at important appointments including MRI scans and therapy sessions. Missing medical appointments in North Wales means that you have to visit your GP and then go back on a waiting list for an appointment, which means you can quickly lose valuable treatments, therapies and investigations.
The communication inclusivity enabled by myhomehelper brought together teams all working with one person which in turn made a valuable contribution to putting the person at the heart of the service, allowing schools, therapists and family members to add relevant reminders and diary dates to the services users systems.
"S" is one of the service users who was given myhomehelper. Her children were asked to dress in fancy dress for a special event at school. I set a reminder of this event on myhomehelper to pop up hourly, each day of the week leading up to the fancy dress day.
When I visited "S" later that week she said she had been giving the event a lot of thought so she could come up with a cheap solution of what her children can wear. Before having myhomehelper "S" had usually forgotten to attend school events or dress the children correctly. The persistence and presentation of the daily prompts in myhomehelper had allowed the information to become part of her long term memory.
Recently the myhomehelper tablets were replaced with newer versions. To do this we had to take the tablets away from the service users for a short period of time. Each of the service users appeared to be anxious as to how they were going to cope without their tablets. They didn’t want us to take them away. They stressed their reliance on myhomehelper, stating that they needed it and they would be lost without it. They all required reassurance that they would have them back as soon as possible. This showed just how important myhomehelper had become to the individual users, and how much they depend and rely on it.
As more of our staff members become aware of myhomehelper’s usefulness they are referring more and more service users. The families of the service users without insight e.g. suffering from Alzheimer’s type dementia find it immensely helpful. We have one service user with Alzheimer’s whose wife works full time. They have a young child who he looks after while she is at work. She is able to send messages to myhomehelper from her computer or phone in work and is able to see if he has acknowledged them. She uses this to remind him to pick their son up from school as this changes time daily, also to complete various other tasks throughout the day; water the green house, prepare vegetables for supper etc.
myhomehelper has helped to raise awareness that other technology enabled care services are out there. We have moved on from paper and voice prompts, we are now up to date with the 21st century. Memory aids for cognitive impairment is fast growing, in an effort to assist people to carry out tasks of everyday living and relieve care givers. The devices range from handheld PDAs to integrated sensory cuing devices. We have found myhomehelper simple and easy to use, but very effective. Studies show memory support systems significantly improve performances. myhomehelper is desirable to the service users and their families as they can keep in contact with them easily and are given peace of mind knowing that they will have the reminders daily, and are able to see if they have acknowledged these.”
The Wrexham County Borough Council Telecare Service provides a telephone link, 24 hours a days, 365 days a year between service users homes and the Telecare Response Centre.
Service users can speak to a trained operator at the Response Centre by pressing the pendant that is provided or if a Telecare sensor is automatically activated a message is sent to the Response Centre.
The operator will then take the appropriate action, which may be to offer basic advice or contact a family member, the Emergency Services or arrange for the Telecare Mobile Response Service to visit you.
If you live in the Wrexham County Borough Concil region and would like more information about an assessment of your needs please contact the Contact Assessment Team (CAT) - 01978 292066.
For more information visit their website.
For more information about myhomehelper click here