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Impact and economic assessment of assistive technology in care homes in Norfolk, UK

Author(s)

AL-ORAIBI Saleh, FORDHAM Ric, LAMBERT Rod

Publisher(s):

Emerald

This study looked at whether new assistive technology (AT) systems in care homes for elderly residents, reduced the number of falls and demands for formal health services. The project collected retrospective data about the incidence of falls before and after AT systems were installed in two care homes in Norfolk, UK. These homes were selected purposefully because a recent assessment identified the need for upgrading their call system. They had different resident profiles regarding the prevalence of dementia. Standard incident report forms were examined for a period starting ten months before the upgrades to ten months after in Care Home 1 and from six months before to six months afterwards in Care Home 2. Overall there were 314 falls reported during the course of the study; the number reduced from 202 to 112 after the introduction of AT. The mean health care costs associated with falls in Care Home 1 were significantly reduced (more than 50%). In Care Home 2 there was no significant difference in the mean cost. The results suggest that installing an AT system in residential care homes can reduce the number of falls and health care cost in homes with a lower proportion of residents with advanced dementia compared to those with more residents with advanced dementia.


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