10 March
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West Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership's Social Policy team have piloted a ground-breaking electronic medication management system, as a way to support safe independent living.
Research shows that many people do not take their medication correctly, which can lead to falls, illness and deterioration of medical conditions.  Feedback from some local residents was also that they wanted to be in control of their care and did not want staff coming to their home just to make sure the correct medication was taken at the right time.
West Lothian is one of the first areas to use smart technology to visually and audibly remind the person when their medication is due. It also reports information back to the Social Care team, alerting them if there's an issue such as medicines missed.
Executive councillor for social policy Angela Doran-Timson said: "We want to support West Lothian residents to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
"By managing medication electronically, it ensures residents are taking the medication they need, when they need it, without the need for staff to visit.
"Many people prefer not to have staff coming to their home sometimes several times per day, so this supports them to manage their own care, in the privacy of their own home."
An initial trial of the system showed that more people were taking their medicine correctly and less visits from social care staff were required. This means that staff time could be redeployed into other areas to support care.
More West Lothian residents will be offered the chance to try the system this year, so see if it better meets their care requirements.
Social Care Manager Angela Spink added: "Using the system has significantly improved the number of people taking their medication at the right time. We can also clearly follow and track adherence and compliance through the data. 
"It allows us to check in on those that aren't taking their medication correctly, to investigate why and put in additional care if needed. Sometimes all that is needed is a phone call.
"The traditional way of going into homes doesn't work for everyone, and this puts people back in charge of their care. In turn this helps their health and wellbeing, as well as being reassuring to relatives."