Rowcroft hospice, a charity that supports patients across the South Hams by providing end-of-life care, has been chosen as one of ten UK teams to explore technology in care.

The Hospice has been selected by the Health Foundation to be part of its exciting new programme ‘Tech for Better Care’, exploring how technology can create new forms of care at home and in the community.

Ten care teams across the UK will develop, test and pilot promising new ideas and approaches to care over approximately 18 months. The most promising ideas will be supported to test and pilot their new approaches.

The Rowcroft Hospice project aims to develop a wearable device or/and an app, particularly suitable for those living with end-stage organ failure, frailty, dementia, and other causes of cognitive decline, or those who may have no fixed abode or live alone and are not always able to express or communicate when they are in pain or distress. The technology will potentially monitor pain levels, vital signs, levels of distress, movement, and possibly fluid intake. This information will be monitored by Rowcroft’s community triage nurse who will make contact via a text message, phone call, or face-to-face visit. 

Rowcroft’s Dr Gill Horne, Programme Director – Care Services, said: “We are so excited about the potential to co-design this transformative technology for patients and those closest to them. Digital technology has the potential to empower people to access community palliative care services and gain the proactive quality care and support when they need it before they get into crises. Moreover, by gathering data through a wearable device or app, we will be alerted immediately to a patient’s deteriorating condition, or a family’s need for assistance, and we can respond by offering the appropriate specialist care and support.”