Sutton and Richmond Councils are deploying in-home sensors to improve the safety of vulnerable residents living in social housing.
The technology unobtrusively monitors residents and provides carers with early alerts on issues such as potential accidents or declining health.
The London boroughs, as part of the InnOvaTe project, together with IoT Solutions Group, are piloting 200 in-home sensors across Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) and Richmond Housing Partnership (RHP) properties.
As a result of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, demand for social care support has increased. As people continue to contract the virus, need to self-isolate or shield and as more people suffer adverse mental health impacts as a result of illness and isolation, this demand is expected to grow further.
This new technology delivers automated, real-time insight about how active an individual is in their own home. If there is a drop in activity levels, automated alerts notify carers or Independent Living Officers, allowing them to respond urgently, rather than waiting for the next visit or relying on the resident to make contact.
In addition to these warnings of potential illness or accident, the sensors can help identify fuel poverty risk, providing the opportunity to prevent further issues before they arise.
No visual or audio recording takes place and no personal data is collected, ensuring total privacy for the resident in their home.
Cllr Sunita Gordon, lead member for finance and resources at Sutton, said: ‘We are committed to explore new ways in which we can harness technology to improve the care services delivered within Sutton, while also saving taxpayers’ money.
‘We have taken learnings from the previous lockdown and we are excited to work closely with IoT Solutions Group and Sutton Housing Partnership to support the way in which we manage our social care teams, the services that they commission from care homes and providers who give care in residents’ own homes.’
Cllr Robin Brown, lead member for finance and resources at Richmond Council, said: ‘Richmond Council’s digital strategy is all about benefiting residents through practical uses of new technology.
‘This project is a great example – improving the care that we offer at the same time as helping our service to be more efficient, keeping costs down. We’re delighted that we have been able to work with Sutton Council and IoT Solutions Group to make this happen.’
Emma Mahy, CEO of IoT Solutions Group said: ‘We are excited to be working with Sutton and Richmond councils to enhance their social care provision.
‘We know how much pressure social care services are under at this time and how concerned relatives are about the well-being of family members they aren’t able to visit.
‘We know that this solution helps provide early response to service users who require additional support, thus improving the opportunity for independent living whilst providing enhanced levels of comfort to family members.
‘This pilot is just the beginning and we look forward to expanding the roll-out to support independent living for residents and local authorities nationwide.’
Steve Tucker, managing director of Sutton Housing Partnership, said: ‘This is great news for our residents and we are pleased to be working with Sutton Council to support social care provision and enhance independent living in the borough.
‘The pilot will make a real difference to the lives of older residents most in need and SHP will continue to work with the Council to support this high-priority project.’
All residents have been contacted about taking part in the trial and it’s added protection benefits.