Firm’s clever service is a potential life saver to elderly facing months of Coronavirus isolation
AN innovative service which tracks the daily wellbeing and health of older people has been hailed as a potential life saver, as millions aged 70-plus face months at home in isolation due to the Coronavirus.
Demand for the OKEachDay system, which combines clever technology and a specialist team, has surged, following a series of announcements by the Government about measures to reduce the spread of Covid19.
Every Briton over the age of 70 will soon be instructed to stay at home for an extended period to protect themselves from the virus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.
That has increased fears of a spike in social isolation along with concerns many elderly and vulnerable people could go days, or even weeks, without their welfare being checked upon.
Now the OKEachDay service - which requires users to either press a button at a time they choose each day to signal their good health, or speak to a team member in a contact centre - has been highlighted as a possible solution to the problem.
The technology was developed by Alertacall, a company based in the Lake District, and is already actively being used by tens of thousands of people.
Martin Cutbill is a director of the business. He said: “The OKEachDay service is used by many people, especially older people or those with higher needs, to confirm their safety and wellbeing on a day to day basis. However, the service becomes particularly valuable when there has been a need for heightened communication, or there is increased concern for the elderly and vulnerable.
“There was significantly increased demand, for example, when we experienced the Beast from the East in 2018, or the more recent floods in many parts of the country. We are now starting to see an increase in enquiries and activity due to Coronavirus.
“Older people are significantly more at risk and if, as we expect to be the case, the government instructs them to self isolate for an extended period of time, it may be, therefore, that they are seeing far fewer people.
“So not only are they higher risk, they are not going to be seen by as many people. The chances of them falling ill and nobody knowing they have fallen ill, becomes much higher.
“With the OKEachDay service, will be able to check on their wellbeing every day, or potentially more if that is what someone wants.
“The other thing likely to be a big issue is an increase in social isolation, which will bring about all the associated effects of loneliness. What these people can do is speak to our friendly team members, potentially every day if they need to.”
The business has its own resilience plan in place to ensure continuity of service should members of the team need to self isolate.
It includes dual contact centres with one able to take capacity from the other, the ability for everyone to work remotely, and reserve team members being on hand to step in should numbers be depleted.
Anne Walker, from Cumbria, is an avid user of the OKEachDay service and said the technology would make a long period of isolation easier to bear: "I've been in now for a week and I won't be leaving the house until we're told it's safe,” she said.
"I've got around ten days of food but some nice neighbours who will go out and get me what I need after that.
"This technology has always given me reassurance that help would be there if I needed it, but that reassurance is even greater now than ever before.
"I actually feel quite safe and secure. I'm doing all I can to avoid coronavirus, but if I was to become ill, it would be picked up without me having to do anything.”
The active 75-year-old has drawn up a daily timetable of activities and household tasks to keep her busy for the months ahead.
She added: "It will also keep me in my routine for the next few months. My art class is cancelled, I can't meet friends for a coffee or for lunch.
"I'm going to miss all of these things and I don't want to fall out of the habit of getting up and having some structure to my day.
"I worry that if I stop it will be hard to get out and get going again. But I press the button at the same time in the morning and evening and this won't change.
"Now is the time for technology to help us through this. It's a lifeline. If this had happened forty or fifty years ago, what would we have done?"
Users of OKEachDay are provided with a device - usually a telephone - which has special buttons linked to the contact centre. Pressing the OKEachDay button signals that the user is well.
If the button is not pressed during the agreed timeframe, the user receives a call. If they are uncontactable, then the matter is escalated and a nominated family member, friend, or in some cases the emergency services, is contacted.
Alertacall is experiencing high demand for the service. New users qualify for a month for free with no obligation to move forward with the service. Fees are then charged monthly and with no tie in period or contract.
Visit https://www.alertacall.com/ for more information or call 0808 163 0092.
(Please note change of number to earlier version sent out - correct number for Alertacall is 0808 163 0092)
Founded in 2004, Alertacall is the first organisation in the world to specialise in the development of technology to improve daily contact designed to keep people independent and drive meaningful outcomes.
Alertacall was founded by CEO James Batchelor, the original inventor of the “I am okay” button. He was inspired by the changing needs of Eveline, his own staunchly independent grandmother and her desire to remain in her own home for as long as possible.
The company now improves the lives of tens of thousands of people. It works in partnership with dozens of organisations in housing, health and social care and has many private customers.
Alertacall employs team members from all across the UK, with offices located in Windermere, Cumbria, and Warrington, Cheshire.
Alertacall was Highly Commended at the National Business Awards for Innovation. Its shareholders are all Board Members and driven by a desire for the company to improve contact and well being for as many people as possible and to improve the lives of everyone the company comes in to contact with.
This press release is sent on behalf of Alertacall by 32West Ltd. For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Caroline Barber on 07711 920 944 or 01229 808 306.