Tina Malloy, Sales and Marketing Manager, Tunstall Emergency Response, describes how they are using telecare demonstration rooms in health settings across Ireland.

We first set up a demo room around 6 and a half years ago in the main national rehabilitation hospital in Donnybrook co Dublin, and following its success there we now have around 8-10 demo rooms across Ireland providing a variety of services.

Demo rooms are normally set up in general hospitals throughout Ireland, predominately larger ones like Kilkenny, Cork and Dublin which are set up through the occupational health departments. Most of our demo rooms are memory clinics, where people who have been recently diagnosed with early and onset dementia can learn about how technology can help and support them. For the past two years we have had a memory clinic in Cork for Occupational Therapists to refer their patients to. Patients and their families who visit the demo room will be given a booklet on their diagnosis and how technology could potentially help. The room provides them with the ability to try out and test the technology so it isn’t alien to them if they use it again in their own homes.

The largest demo room we have is in St James’s hospital in Dublin, which takes the main traffic from surrounding counties to the city centre. Staff at St James’s are very proactive and therefore they use a lot of preventative equipment in their demo room. For example, the geriatric department deploy bed occupancy sensors for fall prevention and wandering alerts during the night.

Some rooms are deployed through rehabilitation centres, like our most recent room in St James’ Hospital, Dublin. These focus on people who have recently suffered with stroke, hip replacements and accidents creating mobility issues. In these rooms, they begin to understand how telecare can help them live independently whilst safe and supported.

Demo rooms are transmitted live into the relevant monitoring centres so that when people use the room they can witness and understand the relationship with the response centre and the process for connecting them to a real person. It also prepares them to know what to expect when an alert goes off so it isn’t a surprise and they are reassured when they are out in the real world.

We ensure that we keep our demo rooms up to date with the latest changes in telecare technology and our service offers. We do this through regularly training demonstration room staff and occupational therapists. We have found that once staff OT’s are familiar with the products they begin to be second nature for them to recommend telecare for home life.