A groundbreaking home that uses the latest smart technology to give people with dementia and other serious long-term health conditions greater independence has been showcased for the first time in Bristol in the UK.
The technology, which has been developed by the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (BIME) in the School for Health at the University of Bath, has been designed to help people readjust to living on their own after a stay in hospital, and aims to reduce the risk of users being readmitted to hospital or going into long term care.
It uses special sensors that can wirelessly 'talk' to devices, such as the cooker (stoves), taps and light switches, in response to the behaviour of the resident. By monitoring movement within the home, the system is able to respond to many different situations without having to contact care staff, often just using simple voice prompts, which could be recorded by family members.
The whole installation is quite unique because it is designed to empower the resident rather than relying on outside help to deal with problems.
- If the occupant was detected opening the main door at inappropriate times they would be given a prompt to let them know the time and encourage them to go back to bed. If they continued to go out, care staff would be alerted.
- If the occupant got out of bed at night, the bedroom lights would be gently faded up.
- If the occupant got back into bed and left the lights on, the house would wait a couple of minutes and then fade the lights off. The user could turn the lights on and off themselves at any point.
- If the occupant moved around the house when it was dark, appropriate room lights would be turned on to help orientate them and prevent falls.
- If taps were accidentally left on they would be turned off.
- If the cooker (stove or hot plate) was left on the occupant would be prompted to turn it off. This would be done twice but if they didn't respond, or if smoke was detected near the cooker, it would be turned off and care staff alerted.
- Whilst the cooker hot plates were still hot, even if the cooker had been turned off, a small warning sign would be illuminated saying 'Cooker Hot'.
- If the occupant was detected moving around a lot at night, they would be prompted to encourage them to go back to bed. If they continued to behave restlessly care staff would be alerted.
- Care staff would be alerted through the normal warden call system.
..gee..I don't have dementia (yet) but I could sure use some of these features in my home. Ever think of designing DIY drop-in modules (like lego blocks) for this stuff?
ETA: now demo home....no mention of dsesign or construction costs or maintance costs.
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