‘SMART beds’ are set to be installed at six care homes to help monitor residents’ breathing and heart rates.

Blackburn with Darwen Council will spend £50,000 on hi-tech sensor mats after a succesful pilot scheme at Acorn House Care Home in Whalley New Road.

The BAM Labs Technology mats are placed under the bed mattress and enable care workers to receive continuous health data and alerts about residents.

Over the next year the equipment will be introduced at Longfield and Northwood care homes, both in Preston New Road, Hollymount in West Park Road and St James House and Moorland View in Darwen.

The mats can review long sleep patterns, resting heart and breathing rate and sleep quality, to identify adverse changes in health for early intervention. The data is transmitted to a tablet computer.

It is also planned that the devices will be used as part of a re-ablement programme, where people who have spent time in hospital are able to return to their homes thanks to the extra assistance and equipment to help them live an independent life.

Coun Mohammed Khan, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “These advancements enable older people to enjoy their retirement with the help of superb facilities, which, along with the success the council's Telecare service, has helped many people enjoy a real peace of mind and helped them to enjoy their lives more knowing they have this equipment in place.

“It also helps staff in a huge way, allowing them to respond to the needs of residents straight away.

“I am committed to exploring innovative ways of working that gives residents choice and control over their care and supports them to lead more independent and full lives.

“Safe, secure and comfortable care is vital for all elderly residents of the borough both in residential care and their own homes, and the council is committed to help people do this through improvements in technology and care.”