A luxury £8 million care home in Fernhill Heath near Worcester is installing three up-to-the-minute technologies aimed at ensuring residents’ wellbeing, keeping families informed and making the best use of staff time. 

Fernhill House, which is due to open in the spring, is to become one of the first in the UK to use a specialised acoustic monitoring system aimed at ensuring residents receive prompt overnight attention without compromising their privacy. 

The system, which has been used in the progressive Netherlands for the past 30 years, is available at only a handful of homes this side of the channel. The technology is designed to keep a virtual eye on residents while they are asleep and alert staff to any unusual activity – such as falling out of bed or being distressed. 

This means residents don’t need to be disturbed by staff checking in on them unnecessarily, with an added benefit that time otherwise taken up doing this can be directed where it is most needed.  The £60,000 system, which will be installed in all 66 bedrooms, is activated when noises reach a higher than expected level and triggers an alert to staff. 

The second technology is aimed at keeping families informed around the clock on the day-to-day wellbeing of their relative. A secure portal, requiring password sign in, will detail activities, meals, medications and state of mind. Fernhill House will be only the 270th home out of 22,000 in the UK to have the Relatives Gateway smartphone tool. 

It replaces old fashioned notes, which are not only time consuming to complete but also can miss vital elements as they can be completed several hours after the event. All information can be shared to the central computer making it instantly available for all members of the team. A social network element enables them to communicate with the staff and send and receive pictures.

Fernhill House manager Peta Mandleberg explained: “Its key benefits are that all activities are completely transparent, it cuts down on paperwork, thus increasing face-to-face time between staff and residents, and enables those with dementia to keep in even closer contact with their families. Although other electronic care planning systems have been around for a while, the Relatives Gateway is very new technology.” 

She estimates this system alone will save an hour per day per team member – which can then be used in increasing time spent with residents. The third technological advance is an e-medication admin record - Wellpad. All pills and medicines are bar coded to ensure residents have precisely the right dose at the right time and remove any margin of error. 

While this is used in a few hundred care homes up and down the country thousands do not have such a system. Fernhill House, which aims to put the fun back into retirement living, opens in the spring with 36 beds for those living with dementia and 30 for over 65s. In the meantime, the marketing suite is open from 10am to 4pm daily by appointment. 

Watch an instructive video introducing the benefits of the acoustic monitoring system here http://www.clb.nl/uk/home and find out more about the Relatives Gateway here: http://www.personcentredsoftware.com/products/relatives-gateway/