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Telehealth Pilot Potential Lifesaver

June 16, 2009 12:21 PM

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Tom Niven is 78-years -old and was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) more than 14 years ago.

He is one of twenty patients suffering from COPD who has agreed to take part in a new pilot project which could save his life.

The project, one of the first of its kind in Scotland, sees Tom and 19 other patients from the Charleston Medical Practice in Paisley use mobile pods at home to monitor their vital signs including lung function and blood pressure. Patients check their vital signs every day and the information is fed to their local GP practice where it is monitored daily. The GP Practice picks up any changes in a patient’s vital signs and any action necessary is quickly taken.

Tom thinks the project, which is supported by Renfrewshire Council, is an excellent idea and is happy to take part. He said: “Knowing that my blood pressure and other vital signs are being monitored daily is extremely reassuring.

“It is good to know that there is someone monitoring your condition and if things are really bad the GP will either come to you at home see or organise for you to have the necessary care you need.

“Also you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use the system, anyone with the most basic knowledge of computers can operate it.

“Once it is explained to you it is very, very easy to operate, and that to me is another big advantage.”

It is hoped the pilot project will also help prevent patients being hospitalised as a result of their COPD.

Dr Colin Reid, GP at Charleston Medical Practice explains: “COPD results in damage to the lungs causing them to become narrower and making it harder for air to get in or out. People who suffer from COPD can quickly have problems and need additional care or treatment which often leads to them being hospitalised.

“This project allows us to monitor them daily and quickly detect if there are any problems. If it something we can deal with without having to admit the patient to hospital then the patient is treated by us in the comfort of their own home.”

Trisha Daniel is the Intermediate Care Co-ordinator. She has been involved with Lorna Muir Assistant Principal Officer, Older Peoples Services in developing the pilot and hopes if successful could be rolled out across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

She said: “This is an exciting project which has been developed through a joint partnership approach with health and Local Authority who provided the initial funding. It is bringing the use of assisted technology in health in to the homes of people to enable them to be fully involved in their disease management. It takes health and social care into another innovative dimension and we would hope that other people will benefit from this.

Councillor Eileen McCartin, Convener of Renfrewshire Council's Community and Family Care Policy Board, said: "Renfrewshire Council has played a leading role in developing the Telecare service.

“The project has improved confidence and wellbeing in people with COPD and GP surgery patients. It has allowed them to have healthier lifestyles and maintain independence.

“The service's combination of teaming the latest technology with partnership working and staff care has really made a difference to people's lives. The Council has been proud to play our part in that success."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe.

COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke.

Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, also may contribute to COPD.

For more information contact  0141 201 4429.

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