This story was published 3 May 2019

A new service that helps people to enjoy their independence for longer is now available to North Yorkshire residents.

people at launch of assistive technology contract

The County Council has commissioned NRS Healthcare to provide a North Yorkshire-wide assistive technology service.  Assistive technology includes equipment that can help to support people to live at home independently, as well as monitored services, where devices in the home are linked to a call centre providing people with round-the-clock peace of mind that someone will be alerted if they need assistance.

Assistive technology also includes GPS trackers, fall detectors and epilepsy monitors that do not connect to a call centre, but which can be programmed to alert care staff, family or friends that the person needs help. These can be used by people in extra care housing developments, where independent living in apartments is supported by round-the-clock services.

One person taking advantage of assistive technology is Tim, who moved into The Cuttings extra care development in Starbeck, Harrogate, earlier this year.

Tim likes to get out and about with his dog, Daisy, but he can be affected by short-term memory loss following a serious accident several years ago. This has caused him to be lost on a couple of occasions so, to improve his confidence and independence, he now wears a GPS tracker, which looks like a conventional watch, on his wrist.

The GPS tracker can be monitored by staff in The Cuttings, which means Tim and Daisy can be easily contacted when they are out, if need be. It has greatly restored Tim’s confidence and his ability to go out walking, shopping and to the local pub to enjoy a quiz night with friends he has made at The Cuttings.

County Councillor Michael Harrison, executive member for adult social care and health integration, said: “The County Council has been providing assistive technology services for people living in North Yorkshire for several years.

“We have recently appointed NRS Healthcare to manage the whole process across the county, providing a single, joined up service from referral, assessment, installation and servicing.

“Just as importantly, we wanted a strategic partner to help us to turn assistive technology into a core part of the health and social care services we deliver.”

Health and social care professionals working for the County Council or the NHS can identify clients they think will benefit from assistive technology and send the referral to NRS. The NRS triage team examines each referral and decides whether an assessment can be completed over the phone or at the person’s home, and what the priority level is.

If the triage officer believes a face-to-face assessment is required, they will send an occupational therapist or assistive technology assessor to visit the client, assess their needs and, if possible, install the appropriate equipment there and then. They will follow up a few weeks after installation to ensure everything is working correctly and will service and repair the equipment as and when required.

People with other eligible care and support needs may get help to pay for their assistive technology service following a financial assessment. People who self-fund their care and support can ask NRS for a private pay option, or can choose to use other local providers. Find more information.