Electronic Pill Dispenser Project to Aid Vulnerable Adults Across Dudley borough – 09/12/09

Over fifty vulnerable adults, who risk deteriorating ill health by forgetting to take their medication, are taking part in a major trial.

The automatic pill dispenser trial is being run by Dudley Council, in conjunction with Dudley PCT (Primary Care Trust).

The battery operated device has a built in alarm which is programmed to sound or flash, reminding people when to take their pills. It can prevent those who have difficulty remembering from over or under dosing. In this way hospital admittance can be avoided, as can the need for increased care.

The pill dispenser technology should help vulnerable people, with long term and debilitating illnesses to stay well and keep them living independently in their own homes. Research by Birmingham University has indicated that the pill dispenser is beneficial for older people as well as those with early dementia and Parkinson’s disease. It could also be useful for adults with learning difficulties.

Councillor Lesley Faulkner, cabinet member for adult and community services said:

“We have been working closely with local social work teams and PCT case managers, in selecting suitable individuals for the pill dispenser trial. Fifty people have now been provided with the pill dispenser unit and so far results are proving to be extremely pleasing.

“We hope that the trial will prove successful and raise awareness of how such a simple device can become an invaluable aid for both vulnerable people and their carers. The device really can provide the support needed for certain people to continue to live independently, within their own home.”

The pill dispensers are linked to Dudley Council’s Dudley Community Alarm’s monitoring centre, alerting staff if pills have not been taken, or too many taken.

Gary Graham, chief executive at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (DWMHPT), said:

“We are committed to improving the lives of people with mental health difficulties and we are hoping this scheme will prove to be beneficial for service users.

“We are always listening to the feedback from service users and their carers and trying to improve the care they receive. Medication has been highlighted as an area where they would welcome further support and this pill dispenser pilot project is one way of achieving this.”

The fifty units have been dispensed by Boots and Murrays pharmacies located throughout the borough. Medicines are dispensed directly into them via a pharmacist.