First Community and Mole Valley Life work together to install assistive technology in homes to help keep east Surrey residents safe

Rehabilitation Assistants from First Community's Intermediate Care Team
Published on Monday 25 July 2022

Working collaboratively with Mole Valley Life, First Community’s Responsive Services have supported the installation of emergency lifeline alarms and key safe boxes for east Surrey residents.

Since the pilot project launched in March 2022, Mole Valley Life, who are operated by Mole Valley District Council, have provided First Community with emergency kits to use with their patients.

First Community’s Urgent Community Response and Intermediate Care Teams identified patients on their caseload who were not only at risk of falling and unable to get around their home safely, but also, unable to look after themselves due to an acute health event (such as a broken bone following a fall). With consent, they installed the assistive technology in their homes for them to trial.

Katie Fox, First Community’s Clinical Team Lead for Intermediate Care works closely with Mole Valley Life, helping to deliver and install the kits and said, “The emergency lifelines and key safes have had such a positive impact for our patients and have provided that extra reassurance to maximise their independence at home.

“Our patients have told us that they’ve always received the support they needed very quickly when using the emergency lifeline alarm, and it’s made them feel safer at home, even when our team or their family aren’t around.

“It’s been great to work closely with Mole Valley Life colleagues to make this happen, and it’s really highlighted the importance and advantages of having strong working relationships with our partners across east Surrey to improve outcomes for our patients.

“As our teams visit patients regularly, we have been able to quickly identify those patients who might benefit from a lifeline alarm and install them when we visit for their appointment; giving patients, their carers and family members reassurance that help is available at the touch of a button from the Mole Valley Life team 24 hours a day.  

“It’s also made such a difference for us to be able to have easy access to properties via the key safes, saving our often very poorly patients from having to get up to let us in.”

Mole Valley Life Call Operator

A key safe is a strong mechanical box in which door keys can be stored securely and accessed by a combination code. Securing the key safe to the outside of the home allows carers and family members to gain access to the property, should the patient wish. In cases of emergency, Mole Valley Life will also be able to provide the key safe details to the emergency services, expediting help to the patient and allowing the emergency services to access the home without causing damage.

The lifeline alarm is worn on the wrist or around the neck and provides help at the touch of a button 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If patients feel at risk, they can easily activate the alarm by pressing a button which sends an alert through to Mole Valley Life’s Alarm Receiving Centre in Leatherhead, where their fully trained team of Call Operators will be on hand to respond appropriately, either by contacting a friend or family member, or by calling the emergency services.

Mole Valley District Council’s Executive Head of Service (Communities), Rachel O’Reilly said, “With an ageing population, Mole Valley Life are aware that there is an increasing number of older and vulnerable resident’s unknown to them who may benefit from the reassurance of a lifeline alarm and the assistance it can provide. Working with their partners at First Community on this pilot has allowed the team to identify these previously unknown residents and provide them with the opportunity to trial a lifeline alarm; enabling them and their family members (who often do not live locally) to see for themselves how assistive technology can support them to live safe and well at home for longer.

“This reassurance and assistance is invaluable at an individual level, but we hope that over the course of time, the pilot will also demonstrate advantages at place and system level too, through the expedition of assistance to residents and the mitigation of avoidable hospital conveyance.”

Anyone living in the Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead Borough and Tandridge District Council areas can be referred to Mole Valley Life’s Lifeline Alarm and TEC service. The service may benefit those whose health and wellbeing you are concerned about, those who may want extra reassurance, as well as those who live with a disability or long-term condition. Find out more by visiting www.molevalleylife.co.uk/independent, emailing mvlife@molevalley.gov.uk or calling 01372 204500.

Pictured: Top - Rehabilitation Assistants Kelly Allen and Olga Teixeira from First Community’s Intermediate Care Team

Bottom - Mole Valley Life Call Operator