Glasgow-based Communicare247 has won over £130,000 in funding for further development of telecare systems to be implemented in the second phase of Scotland’s Project Liberty. Project Liberty is designed to support social care for vulnerable individuals with chronic care needs, including cognitive, to live at home independently, while unobtrusively allowing health and care professionals to manage their risks and health. The support for Project Liberty comes via Scotland’s £9.2million Can Do Innovation Challenge Fund, and is expected to be completed by 3rd Quarter of this year.
The second phase of the project incorporates consumer devices such as voice-activated speakers (e.g. Alexa, left above), smartphones, and other smart wearables, sensors, and location technologies, through a novel monitoring system that can integrate with existing telecare home care alarms. It will deploy and test the system with those living independently and managing complex care needs, including Alzheimer’s.
Tom Morton, Chief Executive of Communicare247, emphasized the need to change over telecare from analogue to digital systems not only because of telecom, but also to extend care with advanced digital devices. “A telecare system that uses Alexa and smart watches is a game changer. We are integrating common and easy to use consumer products along with IoT sensors and innovative telehealth monitoring in an existing data-led system that reports to carers, family members and emergency services as required. Currently, across the UK, there is an estimated 4 million elderly and shielding people who rely on analogue telecare systems to help keep them safe. Most of these systems are at risk of becoming obsolete due to the telephone network switch from analogue to digital. This gives the UK an unprecedented opportunity to adopt a leading digital-enabled assisted living care which will be delivered through Project Liberty.”
Starting in 2018, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the Alliance) engaged with users on improvements to their supportive telecare. The first phase of Project Liberty started in January 2019. Communicare247 led and project managed this part of Glasgow City Council’s “Technology-enabled Glasgow” challenge, joined by partners and stakeholders including the Alliance, the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership, and Tunstall.
The objective for Project Liberty is to be a scalable digital telecare template system to be deployed by local authorities, housing associations, and care providers across the UK. Interestingly, and perhaps uniquely for Scotland, the smart home devices for home care will connect with Scotland’s long-range wide area network (LoRaWAN) which enables devices to collect and send data without the need for 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi.
Additional information on Project Liberty can be found on the Alliance’s website and their webinar ‘Proof of Concept to Deployment’. There is also a 37-minute talk between Mr. Morton and Business Development Manager Ashley Mitchell on YouTube. Mr. Morton earlier contributed a TTA OnePerspective article in 2018 on telecare’s digital changeover.