Opinion: Technology for... a better night’s sleep

PUBLISHED: 08:30 29 February 2020

Cllr Ketan Sheth supports technology that doesn't disturb patients' sleep.

Cllr Ketan Sheth supports technology that doesn't disturb patients' sleep.


We all know the importance of sleep for good health and those who have been in hospital know how it often gets interrupted for those essential checks, for vital signs and for safety.

The Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust is trying a new way of doing that in mental health units.

Oxehealth is an Oxford University established company that partners with the NHS to improve inpatient care.

Their Digital Care Assistant (DCA) uses an optical sensor to pay attention to patients in bedrooms when clinicians cannot be there.

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It means clinicians can take contact-free vital sign checks such as pulse and breathing rates without entering the room and whilst they are asleep.

There's no device connected to the patient and the technology works in total darkness. It also provides real time alerts if someone falls, which are the third most commonly reported type of incident in mental health units.

The DCA gives clinicians more time for hands on care when and where they are needed most and help clinicians plan care better, and has been highlighted as an example of outstanding practice by NHS watchdogs.

Two recent reports showed a 33 per cent reduction in falls at night; and better sleep as clinicians don't disturb patients.

Patients feel safer, sleep better, and have more privacy.

We've heard of smarter working - this could be one!

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