Local News

Sleeping easy with Hampshire’s technological investment for children with disabilities

A Hampshire County Council decision to invest up to £6 million in technology enabled care (TEC), over the next five to ten years, could mean fewer sleepless nights, in the future, for parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities affecting their ability to slumber without interruption.

With the installation of devices such as video and epilepsy monitors, movement sensors and humidity pads or mattresses that detect when a child is wet or soiled and needs changing, parents and carers will to be able to enjoy more hours of restful sleep which, in turn, will help them to improve their resilience and enable them to cope with the demands of their caring responsibilities.

In agreeing the investment, the County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Keith Mans, said “This is an exciting move for Children’s Services.

“We have already seen the huge difference technology enabled care can make to the lives of vulnerable adults – demonstrated most recently through the County Council’s ‘world first’ trial of Amazon’s Alexa voice activated technology to support adults with physical disabilities to continue living independently in their own homes.

I am keen that we build on this innovation to bring similar benefits and peace of mind to those caring for a child or young person with a disability. As we look at how we can best meet the social care needs of children and young people with disabilities, we are looking for new ways to do this.

“The investment I’ve agreed, on behalf of the County Council, is just the start and will enable us to further explore how technology could be used to make a real difference to the lives of those we support.”

Use of TEC was piloted in 2016 in the homes of 20 families of children with disabilities. The outcome of the trial demonstrated that this type of support was welcomed by parents and carers and had the potential to benefit many families. Since then TEC has been introduced to all Hampshire Disabled Children’s Teams for consideration with the families they work with.

For those who are not eligible for funded support, a private-pay service will be developed that will enable parents and carers to purchase TEC independently. Third parties, including other local authorities and NHS partners, will also be able to buy TEC services from Hampshire.