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Providing support to carers through the use of technology

Posted: 11th June 2021

To mark Carers Week (7th-13th June): a campaign to raise awareness of carers and the contributions they make to families throughout the UK, we are highlighting the work of Upstream Health: a company that supports family carers with technological solutions that help them care for their loved ones.

Upstream Health was set up by Darren Crombie after he saw his grandfather needed more care at home, primarily provided by his mum and sister. He saw a need to develop solutions to support unpaid carers. In the UK, 6.5 million people devote their lives to provide care for the people they love and are the biggest workforce in the health system, doing it all for free.

Upstream Health’s technology, Bridgit, is an app that links up to various devices, including a Home Hub, and provides access to real-time support and guidance. It’s a monitoring system that enables family members to check in on a loved one and stay connected with them. It can monitor the home environment, has the ability to send and receive text messages and schedule appointments.

Founder, Darren Crombie said: “Family carers are literally the glue holding the lives of their families together and are the ones that are ideally placed to deliver the social-based preventative care that we set out to deliver.”

The newest product Upstream Health have designed is a watch that helps monitor patient wellbeing and share this information with their family.

Features include:

  • Safety – The device has a fall detection feature that warns the user of a fall risk and alert family / carers when a fall occurs. It also has a 24/7 SIM enabled voice connection to family and friends and optionally to professional emergency services
  • The device enables family members (and care teams if needed) to track clients and support them remotely.
  • The ability to capture key health stats such as heart rate and respiratory rate

Our work with Upstream Health

The Yorkshire and Humber AHSN has provided ongoing support to Upstream Health over the last three years by funding a health economic evaluation, provided opportunities at events and shared information with NHS stakeholders.

Patient case study: how Bridgit Care is making a difference to families

The mother of the family is currently undergoing chemotherapy and also has other medical conditions.

Her husband works long shifts where he is away from home for long periods of time and wants to have the reassurance that he can remain in contact with his wife when he isn’t at home.

They have tried some of the more traditional solutions but found they were unsuitable as they were invasive, bulky and ugly in their home.

Having received the Home Hub, husband and two daughters connected to the device via the Bridgit App so they could also check-in with mum and get the same reassurance as he did.

They would check the App to see when she was up and about, what the temperature was like and send simple messages for her to respond to via the Home Hub.

Having had a good experience with the Home Hub, the couple requested a Bridgit Watch as an additional safety net.

Introducing the Bridgit Watch means they will be alerted if she was to have a fall and also be able to call her directly through the Watch if she needed any support.

The whole family has expressed that the devices have made such a difference to them and offers reassurance. They are impressed by the Home Hub’s simple design, easy use and feel it is a welcome addition to their home. They have been so impressed with the Home Hub that they even take it away with them when they go caravanning as it gives them peace of mind.

The father of the family has said: “Apart from telling the time “The Watch” is a comfort to the carer knowing that any problems can be communicated as they happen and speedy remedies put in place and contact can be made either way.”

The mother of the family said: “The home hub can be popped into your handbag and taken on holiday and is a good reminder to take medicines, news updates and a useful tool for the carer to confirm all is well.”

Find out more about Bridgit