Grace Atherton, 87, from Wardle in Rochdale is full of praise for a new service monitoring people’s health symptoms at home.

Grace who has a long term heart failure condition benefitted from the new service called ‘Closercare®,’ which is part of a wider project launched in the borough to test new technologies in healthcare.

Grace took part in the project for a total of 18 weeks - 12 weeks monitoring followed by six weeks coaching in health improvement techniques. The Closercare programme is part of NHS Heywood Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group’s (HMR CCG) Long Term Conditions Early Intervention Testbed programme. This is one of seven Test Beds testing transformational technology, and part of a national programme run by NHS England and the Department of Health. In this programme, the CCG have been working with local GPs and Testbed programme partners, MSD and Verily.

The monitoring element of the project provided patients like Grace with digital devices supplied by MSD to measure their own vital signs at home, such as blood pressure and weight. The results were transmitted electronically to a monitoring centre where they are assessed by nurses who trigger an alert if a patient’s health deteriorates.

The service helped patients like Grace to manage their own health by helping them recognise and understand changes in their symptoms and ultimately keeping them healthier more of the time.

Grace was working with a heart failure specialist nurse who introduced the new service to her. Grace said “it was really straightforward, Toni my nurse explained it all to me and then a chap came round to my house and delivered the equipment and showed me what to do”.

“I would get up each morning and my equipment would take my readings and they would be submitted, it became part of my daily routine and I used to take down my own readings in my notebook as well. I would sometimes get a follow-up call to see how I was feeling if my readings were out of the ordinary, it made me feel really confident and reassured that someone was there keeping an eye on me and checking my readings, I used to always thank them very much for ringing and checking in on me. Once the 12 weeks had finished and the technology had gone, I missed the reassurance it gave me. “

The Long Term Conditions Early Intervention Testbed programme will be running until June 2018. Programme partner Verily will be analysing pseudonymised data, meaning the patient’s identity is withheld from Verily, to predict which patients are likely to develop long term conditions like diabetes or heart failure, while MSD will focus on strengthening support for patients to prevent them from going on to develop these conditions.

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