New technology will help keep patients safe

April 23, 2020

New technology is being used by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) to help keep patients with mental health needs safe.

Digital Care Assistants are being used in two acute adult inpatient wards in Colchester to monitor patients’ vital signs 24 hours a day.
Optical sensors have been installed in bedrooms at Ardleigh Ward at The Lakes and

Peter Bruff Ward at the Kingswood Centre as part of a 12-month pilot scheme.
Created by Oxehealth in partnership with the NHS and UK Police forces, the sensors remotely monitor patients’ pulse and breathing rates by detecting chest movements and tiny changes in skin tone.

The system aims to improve patient privacy and independence by reducing the need for staff to disturb them to carry out observations, particularly when they may be sleeping.

It also alerts staff if vital signs stop being detected or a patient displays behaviour that could present a risk to their safety.

Andy Brogan, Executive Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at EPUT, said: “This use of technology in no way replaces the vital role our clinical staff have to play. Instead it aims to increase safety by continually monitoring patients’ psychical health.

“The sensors are able to detect pulse and breathing rates when patients are under bedding, increasing patient privacy and reducing the need for them to be disturbed when asleep.

Digital care assistants are being used successfully by other care providers across the UK and have resulted in patients reporting increased feelings of comfort and safety.

“Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust strives to offer the best possible care to patients experiencing mental ill health. Advances in technology like this support us to do just that.”