Digital technology trials raise hopes of better dementia care

INNOVATIVE technology seen as key in the against Britain's soaring dementia problem has been hailed in a new detailed report.

The report, by North Yorkshire County Council and Scarborough residential home St Cecilia's which trialled telecare technology earlier this year, claimed it had delivered significant benefits to residents with dementia, maximising their independence and improving their quality of life.

Telecare facilities, which use electronic sensors and digital technology to provide round-the-clock care, are more commonly used in private homes.

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But following the report, unveiled at a conference in Harrogate yesterday, there has been an increased call for more residential homes to adopt the new technology.

Derek Law, Director of North Yorkshire County Council adult and community services said: "Whilst the council is leading the way with telecare in an individual home setting, this exciting new report also proves that there are many benefits to be gained in a residential care setting.

"With the addition of telecare, staff are more productive and care is even more tailored to the individual.

"In addition, it gave relatives extra reassurance that their loved ones are well cared for and getting more one-to-one interaction with staff."

There will be 1.7 million people needing care over the next few years and in 40 years time there will be one elderly person to every two adults of working age.

The Department of Health estimate telecare could prevent 160,000 people from needing to enter residential care each year, saving a potential 2bn.