Older people can access a range of innovative technological equipment at the new Haven Court to help support independent living.

The £9 million centre for integrated health and social care has been built in the grounds of South Tyneside District Hospital on behalf of South Tyneside Council. The 80-bedded centre will offer high quality support and services, including residential, day and respite care, and
rehabilitation for older people, especially those with dementia.

One of the key new services at Haven Court will be the use of ‘tele-health’ and ‘tele-care’ technology to help people live better lives and care for themselves.

Tele-health uses remote monitoring equipment which monitors an older person in their home. It links directly to professionals, enabling them to assess and respond to any health care changes. Tele-care will send an alert when triggered to the Contact Centre, family carer or support worker who can then provide reassurance or respond as necessary, reducing and managing the risks people may face when living independently.

A demonstration room at Haven Court, furnished to look like someone’s home, showcases the range of equipment on offer.

Among the simplest of the aids is a pendant worn around the neck which can be activated to call for help from the Council’s community alarms service which already helps more than 4,000 older people to live independently in their own homes.

Other devices on offer at Haven Court include bed and chair sensors. They activate when someone gets out of bed or chair and does not return within a set time limit, indicating they have wandered or are at risk of having fallen. Door contacts, which are used to detect if someone tries to exit their property between certain set times, typically after a certain time in the evening, will also be available at Haven Court.

Lead Member for Wellbeing and Independence, Councillor Tracey Dixon, said: “We know many people are keen to stay in their own homes as long as they are able. It is, therefore, reassuring to know that there is a lot of technological help available to provide assistance and peace of mind for our older people and their families and carers.

“The demonstration room at Haven Court is equipped with a range of tele-health and telecare kit, allowing older people to familiarise themselves with it at their own pace before using it in their own homes.”

Dr Bob Brown, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s Executive Director, Nursing and Patient Safety, said: “Telehealth and telecare technology can support independence and grow confidence and ability to self-care and, at the same time, free up staff time to care for those that need this most. It is fantastic that people attending Haven Court will be able to benefit from these cutting edge facilities.”

Haven Court will also benefit from a top class rehabilitation and therapeutic service focused on enabling older people to return to their own homes.