Winning technology designed to ease symptoms of Sundown Syndrome

Sundowning, or sundown syndrome, is a neurological phenomenon associated with increased confusion and restlessness in patients with delirium or some forms of dementia, especially during late afternoon or early evening.

A Hull team has been crowned as the winner of the Humber Care Tech Challenge 2019 with their design on how to support people living with dementia who experience ‘sundowning’.

Team Ull-tra Fast designed a technological concept which may ease the symptoms of those who experience sundown syndrome. Sundowning, or sundown syndrome, is a neurological phenomenon associated with increased confusion and restlessness in patients with delirium or some forms of dementia, especially during late afternoon or early evening.

Research has shown that light enhances wellbeing and their winning dementia light-assist technology may improve a patient’s quality of life, whilst reducing calls to carers and emergency services during peak sundown periods.

The winning team involved staff from Hull City Council’s Adult Social Care and IT departments.

Councillor Gwen Lunn, portfolio holder for adult services at Hull City Council, said: “This was a real team effort involving experts from across the social care, health and technological sector at the council.

“The dementia light-assist is an adaptable technology that can be programmed in with a resident’s current lifestyle and I look forward to seeing the final developed product that will seek to enhance people’s quality of life.”

The product will work with easily accessible technology such as an Amazon Echo or Phillips Hue device and will use lights and acoustic stimulation to assist the user based on their daily living needs. It could also be integrated with existing technologies in the home.

The idea will now be developed into a product with support from Hull University, Amazon, C4DI, the region’s Clinical Commissioning Groups and East Riding Council.

The Humber Care Tech Challenge took place at Bridlington Spa on 1-2 October and saw teams design and develop new and innovative technology-based solutions to help people and their carers live well with dementia.

This year’s event was led by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the four NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups and the University of Hull, with expert support pledged by Amazon Web Services, KCOM, The One Point, C4DI, CDW, Moodbeam, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Alzheimer’s Society.

Up to 15 teams took part in the two-day event. There were five finalists with ideas ranging from a shopping app, an app to keep all care plans in the same place and accessible to medical professionals/carers/family, the introduction of cameras into the home to monitor movement and detect deterioration in conditions, and a digital memory/reminiscence box using Amazon Alexa technology.

John Skidmore, Director of Adults, Health and Customer Services at East Riding Council, and one of the judges, said: “It was so inspirational listening to the ideas as there was a lot of sweat and effort that went into coming up with these inspirational and beneficial concepts.

“Technology can help make the impossible possible and it can change lives and make a difference to people living with dementia as well as their families.”

[Kiran Ghuman – Hull City Council]

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