The NHS has promised a digital revolution to transform patient care. Wider use of technology is at the heart of a ten-year plan to reduce ill health by developing digital tools that the public can use to better manage disease.
However, research published yesterday by the organization for the review of care and health applications, which evaluates digital health tools such as smartphone applications for health care, showed that older people are losing the benefits of technology.
Good Health is looking at some mobile phone apps that can improve the health of older people
Doctors recommend NHS-approved applications to people under the age of 35 twice as much as those over the age of 55, although the majority of older people said they would be happy to try using NHS-approved health applications.
Patient Safety Studies, a charity that is committed to improving standards in healthcare, said doctors are not telling seniors about the wide range of NHS-sponsored healthcare applications that can benefit their well-being.
Good Health examines some of the phone apps that can increase the health of older people, and Dr. Trisha Macnair, a specialist in elderly care at Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in Farnham, Surrey, gives her verdict. . .
Memories of Dementia
My House Of Memories, free on Google Play on Android devices or the AppStore on Apple devices
Dementia, which affects around 800,000 people in the UK, not only takes away people’s memories, it often causes agitation. My House Of Memories aims to help those suffering suffer by preserving images or sounds from the past that they see comfortably.
This could be a photo of an old childhood coin, such as a ten shilling banknote or a Singer sewing machine, which can evoke fond memories of a relative who made clothes for them.
Custom images (such as photos of favorite objects, loved ones, or old school friends) can also be uploaded to the app.
Expert Judgment: “We know that caring for people with dementia can help them remember their fond and distant memories to help them cope with their illness. It allows them to feel committed, which improves their mood and quality of life. So I’m sure this can be beneficial, even if it needs the care of a caregiver to use it. ”
Medication sent from your door
Hi pharmacist, for free on Google Play or the AppStore
According to Age UK, around four million people over the age of 65 in the UK are taking five or more prescription drugs, many on a daily basis.
For elderly patients, it is essential to ensure that they have an uninterrupted supply of these medications, even though many may be at home.
The NHS-approved Hey Pharmacist app aims to get rid of headaches by allowing patients to order prescriptions to repeat through any app in England and send them to their doorstep.
After downloading the app and sending the prescription request, the patient’s doctor checks it and delivers it within days. The app can give warnings to the patient to request another prescription when the supply is depleted.
expert judgment: ‘This is really useful. Working in the care of the elderly, I am constantly trying to convince patients to use their own type of technology so that they do not run out of medicine.
“Those who are comfortable using smartphone apps seem to understand it quite easily, but it can be more difficult for those over the late 70s.”
Take an exercise test at home
EXi, free on Google Play or the AppStore
Family physicians who want to assess the physical condition of an elderly person are often referred for a six-minute walking test to see how far they can walk in that time. The measurement of aerobic fitness and overall well-being is crucial.
The EXi app allows patients to take the test in their own garden, or on a local walk, instead of having to go to a clinic.
It also creates a 12-week exercise plan based on each patient’s health information, such as weight, underlying health problems, and whether or not they smoke. The app gradually increases the level of exercise until the patient completes five recommended 30-minute sessions per week at the end of the three-month regimen.
expert judgment: ‘This may be useful, but we know that it is difficult for most people to motivate themselves to exercise if someone doesn’t even do it with them. This is especially true for older people, as social interaction is as important to them as physical exercise. ”
Application to help deal with emissions
Squeezy, £ 2.99, Google Play or AppStore
AN seven million people in the UK, mostly women, suffer from urinary incontinence. It affects older people because the muscles that control bladder function weaken with age.
Pelvic floor exercises help you deal with the problem, but they need to be done regularly and properly to get the real benefit, something that many patients struggle with. The Squeezy app, aimed at both men and women, provides patients with a pelvic floor exercise plan developed by physiotherapists who specialize in women’s health.
Users are given clear instructions on how to effectively perform pelvic floor exercises – to improve bladder control – and a daily function that allows them to represent improvements in their condition.
expert judgment: ‘Really helpful application. Half of the problem with pelvic floor exercises is that you’re never sure if you’re flexing the right muscles, but with this driving application, there’s a much lower chance of that happening. ”
managing your heart health
Engage Self-Care app, free on Google Play or the AppStore
At least one million people in the UK have atrial fibrillation, where an abnormal heartbeat means that blood is accumulating inside the heart’s pumping chambers, increasing the risk of clotting that can cause stroke.
The average age of onset is about 75 years. Many diagnosed people rely on blood thinner warfarin to reduce the risk of stroke. But the medication must be carefully monitored, as excessive internal bleeding can cause life-threatening damage.
This means performing regular tests at a clinic, usually every four to six weeks, to measure the amount of the drug in the blood.
The NHS-approved Engage app allows patients to do so at home, avoiding hospital trips if they have been given a doctor’s testing kit.
The app stores readings and shares them wirelessly with the patient’s doctor so they can monitor their drug level remotely.
Expert ruling: “Most patients taking warfarin should have regular tests or be called by a district nurse for a few weeks to take a blood sample, but the application can make life much easier.”
Keep on top of daily pills
Pillboxie, £ 1.79, AppStore
Billed as an “easy way to remember your medications,” this app allows you to record what tablet you need to take each day and at what time. But what makes this very easy to use is that the visuals (rather than the text-based ones) provide warnings for taking medications.
For example, if a medication is to be taken at 7:00 a.m., a tablet will appear in a picture of a pill box and will remain there until the patient is told to take the drug to the app. Separately, the app can remove a list of “medicines coming today” so that patients can check them as they go.
Expert judgment: ‘Applications like this are a great idea and your visual element is likely to be more usable. I know that pharmacists sometimes have to call patients on the phone to remind them to take their medications. Using this app could mean that patients don’t accidentally skip doses. ”
Sounds to help get rid of the head
Pzizz, free on Google Play or the AppStore
MANY elderly people struggle to sleep. This may be due to taking a nap during the day, which reduces fatigue at night. The Pzizz app uses a complex mix of music, voice-over and various sound effects to create what the creators describe as “Dreamscape” to encourage sleep.
Expert ruling: “Elderly sleep problems are very common and can be worrisome, which can make it even harder to get rid of the gesture. This application can help. ‘
Having a mobile to relieve pain
ESCAPE-pain app, free on Google Play
Maintaining a mobile phone is essential to deal with chronic pain. The escape-pain app is for people with pain who want to keep their mobile at home instead of going to fitness classes. It has videos with clear instructions on gentle exercise and allows users to track their progress and pain.
Expert ruling: “We know that in conditions like osteoarthritis affecting around eight million people in the UK, maintaining a mobile is essential to help control pain as it maintains muscle strength.
“Applications like this can help patients find the right type and amount of exercise for themselves.”