Published: 09:00, 20 May 2015
| Updated: 09:41, 20 May 2015
A special safety watch which detects the whereabouts of dementia patients is being piloted in Medway.
The GPS device. coordinated by Medway Council and Kent Police, is being officially launched today as part of Dementia Awareness Week.
It will enable sufferers across Medway to maintain independence and confidence, safe in the knowledge that there is always somebody on hand to help.
Alerts from the watch are sent back to the council’s control centre and from there, operators will be able to establish someone’s location and alert relevant family members or if required the emergency services.
Andy McGrath, the council’s assistant head of regeneration, community and culture, said: “While GPS tracking isn’t anything new, it’s our local monitoring service that makes this watch groundbreaking in the world of dementia care and support.
“[This scheme] is set to help people with dementia to maintain their independence and give their families piece of mind that there will always be someone on hand in our control centre in Strood to alert them, or the emergency services, if there is concern.” - Mr McGrath
“The Living Well with Dementia programme has been at the heart of the centre’s ethos for many years, as they already offer support through their telecare service to help people live independently with dementia within their own homes.”
The centre can be contacted in a number of ways: If the person wearing the watch presses the SOS button for help.
If the person goes outside the GEO fence - an area pre-determined by family or guardians to keep the dementia patient away from potentially dangerous situations, like busy roads or rivers.
If the person does not return home, staff at the control centre can track down their location.
The centre is staffed 24 hours a day.
By teaming up with the police, this provides an additional safety strand to the device, because if the communication network breaks down ,emergency services will respond.
Mr McGrath added: “We are pleased to be embarking on this pilot scheme with Kent Police, which is set to help people with dementia to maintain their independence and give their families piece of mind that there will always be someone on hand in our control centre in Strood to alert them, or the emergency services, if there is concern.”