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Is the use of 'track and trigger' systems good NEWS for care home residents?

This is an opportunity to assist with the planning of a project assessing how new technology can enhance the care of care home residents.

  • Wednesday 24th January 2018 10:00 (1 hour)
  • Workshop
  • Influence

An important part of improving the lives of care home residents is to recognise when they become more unwell (due to an infection for example), so that they can receive appropriate medical help. Recognising when someone is unwell is often very difficult in the care home setting, as older adults may not display the normal signs of being ill. Furthermore, the care home staff may not have the equipment to measure the vital signs, such as blood pressure and oxygen levels, especially if they do not have a nursing background. 

This project is about a new piece of technology, which has been introduced in many care homes in Sunderland. The care homes have been provided with a briefcase containing the equipment necessary to measure the vital signs. This information is entered into a hand-held ‘tablet’ computer, which generates a score, called the ‘National Early Warning Score’ (NEWS).

This gives an indication of how unwell the resident is. The care home staff follow a flow chart, which tells them how they should manage the situation according to the score. The recommended response may involve repeating the measurements within a specific time-frame or seeking medical attention by calling the GP or an ambulance. The hope is that this new approach will help care home staff, including those without nursing background, to recognise illness and to respond to this appropriately and promptly.

The project aims to assess how this new approach may enhance the care of residents. 'Track and trigger' systems like the 'National Early Warning Score' were developed for use in patients in hospital but we do not know how applicable they are to elderly care home residents. The data collected so far in Sunderland care homes will be mathematically analysed to evaluate this. Interviews will also be conducted with residents and their families, care home staff and GPs to explore their experience of this innovative technology.


The aim of this initial workshop is to help with the early stages of planning the project. Voice North members will help to focus the research questions and help with the writing of the lay summary.

In the longer term, Voice North members will be invited to join the advisory panel for the project.

Volunteer Criteria

There is no specific criteria for this opportunity, just an interest in improving care for care home residents.

What will I be asked to do?

You will be asked to attend a meeting for 1 hour to discuss the project and assist with the lay summary and research questions.

When & where?

The workshop will take place on Wednesday 24th January at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle University.

Will I get anything for taking part?

Travel expenses will be reimbursed.


  • Room 2.33, Second Floor Biomedical Research Building
  • Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle University
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • NE4 5PL

Is the use of 'track and trigger' systems good NEWS for care home residents? Discussion

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  • Bernie Wright
    16th January 2018

    I was a carer for a parent before and during residency in a care home.