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The part Kenny show on news talk with Marter private network during current restrictions. Don't ignore your health concerns. Our expert team is ready to help. In a recent report by the state's health watchdog, Hiccough, it said health care regulations are outdated and are no longer robust enough to protect residents in nursing homes in the event of another covid-19 wave. So is it time for Ireland to look at putting more funding into home care ahead of residential care in order to have better planning and provision for life in our later years?


The former master of the National Maternity Hospital, Dr. Ron Amami, has now joined the board of a company called Hailo Care, which is an Irish Start-Up that provides technological solutions that allow elderly people to live independently in their own home Aaron. Good morning.


Good morning. Great to talk to you again.


Now, it's very interesting this because given what happened over Christmas and given what happened at the beginning of the pandemic when nursing homes were the victims, really people being discharged into nursing homes, infections and so on, many people died and we thought we'd learnt our lesson.


But in the wave over Christmas, we saw a huge number of elderly people die.


Again, nursing homes, you know, are potentially very dangerous places in a pandemic. So you want to keep more people at home?


Yeah, and it's not just during a pandemic. I think it's just for life in general. Most of us, I think, would like to think that when Roder we get to live independently for as long as possible, that we get to live at home and that we have a good quality of life and health care. It's an Irish company founded by David Walsh and locally. But it's really a company that uses a range of assistive technologies and provides a 24/7 support system for older adults and their carers and their family, and to create a circle of care that allows people to live independently and with confidence and more safely.


It's not about providing acute care in a nursing home. In fact, it's quite the opposite. It's about living well, living well as long as possible and at home.


But keeping people out of nursing homes, you know, is a great idea in the current circumstances. Oh, yeah, because the the fewer people that are in a nursing home and the fewer people needed to go in and out at the safer those places can be.


But the kind of technology that has been developed now that people can use at home and often I get calls when we're talking to Jess Kelly about technology and you get someone saying, well, I'm in my 60s, I'm not very tech savvy, so it's no use having tech if you don't know how to use it.


Absolutely. But that's the whole point. It's totally supported and it's totally easy to use. So nobody needs to worry about being not very tech minded or backscatter technology. Both of us are. But this technology falls into three main categories. And this the the kind of safety technology and that is having motion detectors for sensors in the home, warnings about temperature. What is that carbon monoxide flooding caused at the door. And what's really important to take home is that this isn't about having cameras in your house where it's like Big Brother, you being watched.


And these are really discrete devices that are wireless. And you hardly know that there, for example, a false answer will literally sit on the wall. It uses a combination of radar, a microwave technology, and it can literally sense movement in the room, normal movement. It can distinguish between someone stumbling and so it can detect a fault rather than just somebody sitting down in a chair. But they're incredibly sophisticated and these and feed back into a 24/7 care hub.


So there's always a backup there who can detect an alarm and who can detect when a problem arises. And they're then able to contact a person's carers and their family and so that there's just that extra bit of backup. And then in addition to that, there's a social element, because for a lot of people living at home and we've really seen this in covid part, the loneliness and the lack of connexion. And you're right, a lot of elderly people are scared of, you know, iPhones and they're scared of iPads.


And and in this case, we set up a whole system for a person that's personalised. For them, it's appropriate and really easy to use. So it means that people can connect via video calls and either with the care help with the circle of friends, with their family, and also that we can feed content into those halo so they can have the Irish Times. If you'd love to read our times in the morning, you know that's there. And and there's lots of updated information that might be valuable for someone.


Medication prompts, you know, and alerts so that, again, there is a back up. And also that people can have conversations, you know, because it's so important to try and stay connected in this environment. And then there's a whole suite of clinical awareness technologies, which a lot of people will be really familiar with. The Fitbit. We're all used to our heart rate being monitored now, you know, but we can monitor body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, blood sugar and medication adherence.


So all of this just provides a bit of backup at the. He is that is connected into 24/7 care hub so that there's always someone there and to contact those people who can, you know, detect when a problem might be arising and could create appropriate alerts, but it is not about being monitored or watched or having video cameras in your house. So it's really not designed to impose on people or to make people feel uncomfortable. It's quite the opposite.


It's just a really good safety backup for people who are at home when they require said health care regulations are outdated and are no longer robust enough to protect residents in nursing homes in the event of a wave. Do we need to refocus in the health service? I know it must be interesting for you as an obstetrician, this is not the area that you spend your working life on. Now you're seeing a different kind of experience of the health service. Do we need to refocus?


Absolutely. So what we're really seeing is, and we've known it for a long time, that we need to deliver health care differently. And, you know, we have when we sit back and you look at the operation of health care and ah, and you look at how we deliver it, there's so much inefficiency, people coming to hospital unnecessarily, the footfall through the hospital and things we could deliver really easily using assistive technology. So I think covid was fascinating for me in terms of all of a sudden we couldn't allow people to come to hospital.


We had huge restrictions. We had to deliver health care differently. And although a bit ad hoc in terms of using video calls or phoning people, and we learnt that we can do it, that's the first thing. And it has been a massive accelerator in recognising how we can change the way over health care. But, you know, there's lots of companies out there that do amazing work using assistive technology and, you know, get one that works, that connect patients to their care, allow people to engage in their care.


And then we have a whole lot of telehealth and was quite advanced and sophisticated, you know, and art and really needs to get on this train. And because we can achieve a huge amount and not only does it make things easier for people, but actually often it increases equity and access to health care for people, which is hugely important, and particularly go back to health care. When we look at the population demographic ahead of us, you know, we had about seven we have about 700000 people over 65 in the country at the moment.


That cohort are really growing. And we expect to see about one and a half million people in the over 65 category in 2050 one. And when we look at this age group, particularly those accounts for 50 percent of our hospital beds, a quarter of our emergency room attendances and a part of people over 65 will have some long standing, you know, health related limitation. And you're absolutely right. We want to keep people out of hospitals. We want to keep people out of nursing homes.


It's a really expensive way of delivering care, but it's also not a good quality of care if we can start to care for people at home and but in a way that provides safety, that provides connectivity. So it's not just about the rural health care. It's also about the person, about making them feel cared for, making them feel supported at home. Then I think we really achieve something. And I think it could be more important and it has broad application across the health care system.


So I think whether you are involved with this, this company, health care, has the Hajazi got involved in this kind of technological assistance at all? Or, you know, would the Hajazi if they change the the approach to people living at home, would they kind of subcontract this kind of activity to companies like health care? Is that the idea?


Yes. The idea is that this company will support either the home care groups, families. You know, it's not meant to on its own, you know, provide or care. But what it can do is really enhance the care that's being provided by home care companies and by the HSA and by families. So what it does is it really augments that care and gives a much better safety and part of that care. And it's 24/7. So it's a much cheaper way, actually, of doing it than having.


So what does it cost? What does it cost for a package on.


Yeah, so we don't really have a package for say, the cost will depend on what different people need. Some people will need very little, some people will need more. So there isn't a cost per say. It's just those technologies are available and people can engage with healthcare and see, look, what do I need, what's suitable for me. But it's not that it's one package and this is what it costs. Everybody will have different. And the whole point is this is customised to each individual person.


But overall, if we can take people out of hospitals, you know, where you're looking at over a bad night and at a nursing home, then for sure there's huge savings.


It's got to be cost effective. Before I let you go, Roanna, I bring you back to your day job. You know the cervical check story today. A lack of trust in screening programmes causing women with cervical cancer to put their lives, their health at risk.


This is according to cervical check and your your former fellow master, Peter Boylan, was on earlier and saying there has always been appears a misunderstanding between, you know, what is a diagnosis and what's the screening programme. So screening is important. It might catch everybody, but it'll catch a lot of people.


Yeah, I think screening is about population. It's about applying a test to population to reduce the incidence of disease. Really, I think it's a vehicle check. We've got confused with screening and with diagnosis, with individual diagnosis. For an individual person, screening often cannot always make that diagnosis. It will not pick up every case. And I think we know that and we understand that better now. And yes, if you apply if you look at your vehicle check and the seven percent reduction in incidence of cervical cancer year on year, it actually this programme screening is really, really, really important and ultimately will save more lives.


Unfortunately, at the very outset of the cervical check, we call it a crisis, whatever. At the very outset, the information was all over the place. It was inaccurate. And I think it gave women, unfortunately, the idea that screening the people that withheld results from them, that they had not been told they had cancer when they had and that screening was an outand out failure. And I think we have a lot of work to do and important work to do to bring that narrative back to the efficacy of screening and what lives that it can save.


And that's a narrative that's got to be corrected. It's super important and applies not just as a vehicle check, but to breast cancer screening and bowel screening. And we don't want to go backwards to the days when people present with advanced cancers because they didn't have screening available. We want to stay in the days where we pick up cancers early and we treat them early.


On that note, obstetrician, former master of the National Maternity Hospital, board member of Hailo Care. Dr. Amani, thank you very much for joining us on the programme.