10 September 2014

Life-saving help is only a breath away for Pauline

Ingenious hi-tech alarm system is thought to be first of its kind in the UK

She’s had 30 years of multiple sclerosis and recently had a stroke ... but Brighton resident and wheelchair user Pauline Johnson is still smiling and still living in her own flat – thanks to the first hi-tech personal safety alarm of its kind in the country.

Her alarm system has been especially created for her by CareLink Plus, Brighton & Hove City Council’s community alarm service. The system enables Pauline to raise an alarm for help by simply blowing down a specially designed tube.

Normally this is done by pushing a button on an alarm pendant, but after her stroke in June Pauline found herself unable to use her hands.

CareLink Plus’s technical staff responded by combining a system developed by a company with links to Stoke Mandeville hospital that enables patients with disabilities to trigger a call for help by blowing down a tube, with a switch specially imported from the USA to connect this breath-based system in to the Carelink Plus call centre.

To raise an alarm if feeling unwell all Pauline needs to do is to blow down the specially designed tube and officers from CareLink Plus will talk to her through her communication system. If help is needed it can be sent to her in minutes.

Combining these three pieces of equipment in this way to help a community alarm service client is thought to be a UK first, and Pauline is overjoyed.

“CareLink Plus is a wonderful service and I want to spread the word about it. I tell everyone I meet who I think might benefit from it to give it a try.

“I had a lot of falls before I started using a wheelchair, and wasn’t able to get up again. Having my Carelink alarm saved me every time because they were able to send parademics immediately to help me.

“After my stroke in June I was in hospital for over six weeks, and when I came out I still couldn’t use my hands. So the people at CareLink Plus came up with this system especially for me.

“It’s so easy to use. If I had another crisis in the night it could be a life-saver for me.

“It’s been a difficult time, but my faith is my medicine and thanks to God and CareLink Plus I’m still smiling and looking on the bright side – and I’m still able to live independently in my flat.

“Without CareLink Plus I’d have had to move into a nursing home by now.”

Pauline’s health is improving slowly and she now has some use of her hands some of the time. She can now sometimes use a specially adapted alarm pendant, but still needs the breath-based alarm system, particularly at nights.

CareLink Plus manager Joel Caines said: “Fixing up Pauline’s bespoke system wasn’t easy, but at the same time we always strive to help people stay independent through new and creative ways of using technology.

“At CareLink Plus we’re all dedicated to going the extra mile to help our clients.”

As well as their alarm pendants and wristbands, Carelink Plus can offer a variety of hi-tech sensors to do things like trigger an alarm when you’ve had a fall, detect floods in your bathroom or kitchen or give people reminders to take medication.

The team is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week – giving reassurance and peace of mind for you, your family and friends and carers.

In an emergency CareLink Plus can help save your life.

It’s used by more than 5,000 vulnerable people in Brighton & Hove. They include people of all ages who:

  • are prone to falls
  • are being discharged from hospital
  • have disabilities or health needs of any kind, including dementia
  • are experiencing harassment, domestic violence or other crime live alone.

To find out how CareLink Plus can help you or your loved ones, please:

  • Telephone (01273) 673105
  • E-mail CareLinkPlus@brighton-hove.gov.uk
  • visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/carelinkplus
  • Deaf or hearing impaired callers can text the service on 07908 823134
  • Follow @carelinkplus on twitter

Our photograph of Pauline was taken by Peter Tierney