As the first snowfall of winter brings parts of the UK to a standstill, thousands of people have been left stranded in their homes.
Isolation in freezing temperatures is, in itself, distressing, but for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) it could mean the difference between life and death.
Now, however, the Telehealth Solutions HomePod is offering COPD sufferers and their families unprecedented peace of mind as temperatures plummet.
Previously only available for patients with COPD and other chronic lung conditions, through primary care trusts, the HomePod can now be rented privately on a monthly basis.
That is good news for both those living with COPD and for their family members, many of whom may live some distance away and cannot be with them immediately should a medical emergency arise.
Every morning the HomePod, similar in size to a portable computer games console, measures the patient's blood pressure, oxygen levels and weight in addition to some generic health questions.
The data is fed back, via mobile phone technology, to the mobile or PC of a close family member or friend. If any deterioration in the patient's condition is detected, action can be taken far sooner to alert the local GP, nurse or carer.
Research conducted for Telehealth Solutions, based in Watford, has shown that this method of care is helping to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions by facilitating early intervention.
Subsequently, lives are being saved, patients are saved the stress of going into hospital and thousands of pounds are saved for the NHS in avoidable hospital admissions.
Executive Chairman of Telehealth Solutions, Jeremy Cummin, said they know the device works well and expect it is only a matter of time before the public embraces the future of health care.
Jeremy, who started the firm with business partner John Dyson in 2006, said: “From past projects we have worked on with primary care trusts and health boards we know this device works and drastically reduces the need for hospital admissions.
“One of the main triggers of COPD symptoms is stress and the more uptight a person becomes the worse those symptoms become. Now, for many patients, the vital link with families or carers the HomePod provides is a great comfort.
“It is also a relief for grown-up children living far from ailing parents to know that they will know, very quickly, if something is wrong with their mother or father and can act accordingly swiftly to get medical assistance to them.”
A pilot Telehealth Solutions HomePod project on the remote Isle of Bute, off Scotland's west coast, was spearheaded last year and paid for itself within three weeks by saving unnecessary hospital admissions.
The device went down well with health professionals and patients alike because it gave everyone the freedom to get on with their lives, safe in the knowledge the patients' conditions were being monitored closer than ever before.
The Bute project went on to win NHS Argyll & Bute and Telehealth Solutions an award for innovation at last year's Scottish Health Awards.
About Telehealth Solutions
Telehealth Solutions was founded in 2006 to bring the convergence of technology and changing clinical practice to the benefit of patients and clinicians.
The company has grown rapidly and now has 20 employees who are dedicated to providing the most secure, scalable and robust methods for collecting information from patients, without the need for clinical intervention, and getting that information into the hands of the clinicians and carers who are looking after those patients.
For more information log on to www.thsl.co.uk or contact Lee Simpson at Tartan Silk PR on 0131 557 8885.