App for Down’s Syndrome patients part of DCMS grant

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will allocate a share of £400,000 to allow the Down’s Syndrome Association to develop an app allowing patients to monitor their weight and exercise levels from their smartphones through the Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund.

The fund will also allow the exploration of how new technology can help improve end of life and palliative care.

More than 70% of people with Down’s Syndrome are classed as overweight or obese. As well as monitoring weight and exercise levels, the app will also aim to connect people with a wider community of users which can help combat loneliness.

Alex Rawle, Down’s Syndrome Active project manager, said: “The Down’s Syndrome Association are delighted to have been chosen to receive a grant from the Digital Inclusion Fund.

“This will enable us to create and distribute a “Health Swap” app, made specifically with the needs of people with Down’s Syndrome in mind. The app will encourage its users to live healthier and more active lives and will be a gateway to a world of further digital information and tools.”

For end-of-life and palliative care Weldmar Hospicecare Trust will also explore, for the first time, how the lives of patients can be improved through new technology and skills.

The project aims to research and develop technology to allow users to report on their health on a daily basis; provide consultations in a convenient and cost-effective way via video to help patients with regular appointments; and support carers and families at risk of isolation and detrimental health and wellbeing impacts, while improving their digital skills.

Caroline Hamblett, chief executive of Weldmar Hospicecare Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded Digital Inclusion funding, which will enable us to continue the development of telehealth technologies for patients and their families/carers receiving palliative and end of life care.

“With this funding we aim to test the possibility to extend the reach of this project through software development, possibly in the form of an app which will allow patients to record their symptoms and communicate with their clinicians from the comfort of their own home.

“Research from Lloyd’s Consumer Digital Index 2018 has revealed that older and disabled people with have been highlighted as being the slowest to adopt basic digital skills and also have the lowest internet usage (ONS).”

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