TWO hundred seriously ill people in Blackburn with Darwen could soon receive new Telehealth Units to help them stay at home longer.

Blackburn with Darwen Council and NHS Blackburn with Darwen have invested £500,000 on technology which will promote self-management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Heart Failure.

Telehealth units will be tailored to the patients needs, for example, a sensor can be put in an oven to alert a central unit if an appliance has been left on for too long, or someone who forgets to take medication can be reminded by an alarm linked to medical staff.

The scheme will build on the success of the Blackburn with Darwen Telecare scheme, which provides people with a choice of devices to monitor whether they are in danger or need assistance, for example if they have a fall or wander.

Close to 1,000 people are already supported through Telecare equipment.

Councillor Mohammed Khan said: "The council has had to make nearly £40m worth of cuts and while we did our best to protect services used by the most vulnerable, the adult social care budget had to make savings.

"I am pleased to say we were able to make a lot of savings through the innovative use of technology and investing in prevention, meaning that other kinds of service could be preserved.

"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 lives."

It the technology proves popular with patients and medical staff, it will be rolled out further in the borough.

Grandmother-of-two Margaret Gibson, of Shadsworth, said her telecare alarm button that hangs on a pendant around her neck was a “lifeline”.

Once pressed, the panic button goes through to a call centre that can contact a member of the family, friend or neighbour or call the emergency services if necessary.

She said: “I think one of these is essential if you live alone or even if you don't you never know if you're going to need help and there's no-one around. It just gives you that sense of security and just lets you get on with your life."