Health researchers at the University of Lincoln are exploring whether electronic 'telemonitoring' systems could help in the treatment of elderly people with complex health problems.
Telemonitoring (or telehealth) systems enable doctors to remotely receive useful clinical data, such as blood oxygen levels, through technology installed in the patient's own home. The aim is to help patients better manage their own condition and alert health professionals more quickly to early warning signs of deterioration, potentially improving patients' quality of life and reducing the number of emergency hospital admissions.
Research specialists from the Community and Health Research Unit (CaHRU) at the University of Lincoln, in conjunction with Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, are taking part in an international clinical trial which will examine the effectiveness of these systems. The project, called CHROMED, involves researchers from five European countries, including the universities of Lincoln and Liverpool in the UK, and is funded by the European Commission through its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
The Lincoln team would like to hear from patients registered at GP surgeries in Lincolnshire who are 60 years or older and who are being treated for both the lung condition Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and heart disease (either Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) or Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD)).
Professor Niroshan Siriwardena, Professor of Primary and Pre-Hospital Healthcare at the University of Lincoln and Chief Investigator on the CHROMED study, said: "People with complex, long-term health conditions can still retain a good quality of life if their illnesses are well-managed. Detecting early warning signs of deterioration is extremely important, and it is widely believed that telemonitoring technologies could better equip doctors and patients to do that. This clinical trial is an important step in understanding just how useful these systems could be. It is also an opportunity for patients in Lincolnshire to contribute to research which could benefit many people with serious health problems across the UK and beyond."
Patients meeting the study criteria who are interested in taking part should first discuss it with their GP. Alternatively, they can contact the Lincoln research team, who can liaise directly with their GP.
The study will run for nine months and all patients who volunteer will be given a medical assessment with a nurse in their own home. They will then be randomly assigned to one of two groups: one will have telemonitoring equipment installed at home, and the other will remain on their normal care regime.
Dr. Jo Middlemass, Research Nurse on the CHROMED study at the University of Lincoln, said: "All the participants in the study will continue to receive their normal medication and healthcare. We will be asking both groups to fill out some questionnaires on a regular basis and the patients with the telemonitoring installed at home will also be shown how to take a few simple daily measurements using the system. We will also speak to each patient over the phone once a month. At the end of the nine month trial, we will ask all the patients to answer some questions about their health and quality of life. This will help us make important assessments about the effectiveness of the telemonitoring system as part of this major European project."
More information: People interested in taking part in the study can contact Dr. Jo Middlemass on 01522 886226 or email: email@example.com; Dr. Karen Windle on 01522 886173 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Sue Bowler on 01522 886949 or email: email@example.com. Alternatively visit the Community and Health Research Unit website: www.cahru.org.uk.