New healthcare technology for region

Putting You First is supporting a large scale pioneering clinical trial which will test the potential for new technology to transform healthcare in Dumfries and Galloway.

Developed and piloted by the NHS Dumfries and Galloway Respiratory Team CREWS (Community Respiratory Early Warning System) – will test whether people with chronic lung disease can manage their own conditions so they can live independently in their own homes or in a homely setting using light touch Telehealth remote supervision.

The trial started on the Monday 13 May in three care homes across the region and will also include people admitted to hospital following a flare up of chronic lung conditions.

The people involved in the trials will be issued with the CREWS equipment which is a digital thermometer, a pulse oximeter and a colour coded chart.

The trial will look at the effectiveness of CREWS Telehealth equipment and gather feedback from the people who use it over the next ten months.

Clinical Lead for the CREWS project, Phyllis Murphie said: “People living with long term conditions are often admitted to hospital or attend their GP when flare-ups occur. We believe that CREWS may help with early identification of problems and the need for treatment should it be required. This may reduce the need for hospital stays.

“This trial will give people responsibility for taking their own readings which they will record and measure against a chart which advises them whether to discuss any changes with their nurse or doctor.”

Respiratory Consultant Stuart Little added: “The results of our initial pilot study were encouraging and I am confident that this more formal trial will show significant benefits for patients.

”Current evidence supports home care models of service delivery like CREWS and there are good indications that home care reduces the risk of hospital admission and readmission. For those living independently it can also reduce the potential for moving to long term care.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ‘optimising the well-being of people at home or in a homely setting’ and we hope this trial will lay the ground work to implement this policy aim for people in Dumfries and Galloway.”

Independent Sector Representative on the Putting You First Board Jim Gatherum runs a care home in Kirkpatrick Fleming. He said: “For people who live in a care home a hospital stay can be a traumatic experience, particularly for those who suffer from dementia

“The CREWS project has the potential to reduce or even remove the need for an elderly person suffering from a lung condition to have to go to hospital. It also offers the opportunity for trained care staff to identify flare ups earlier so they can deliver the appropriate care more quickly and effectively.”