HI-TECH devices will be able to tell nurses when their vulnerable patients are at risk of falling over.

Worn around the wrist like a smartwatch or Fitbit, the MySense equipment will be handed to elderly or vulnerable patients supported by Swindon Borough Council and Great Western Hospital.

The watch is just one of the sensors that will be installed in people’s homes. Others can be fitted into doors, chairs – and even the toilet.

Health chiefs say the state-of-the-art kit will help community nurses and carers track the condition of their patients remotely, alerting them if someone is deteriorating fast.

They will spend a year piloting the equipment. Outlining the scheme to GWH directors, hospital strategy chief Kevin McNamara said it was hoped up to 200 people in the town could benefit from the devices.

“This is quite an innovative step forward,” he said. “The plan is by June we would have rolled it out to 50 patients.”

The project will see sensors installed in patients’ home, including on their doors, seats, bed and wrists. The information can be sent to nurses and carers, alerting them to unusual behaviour, sudden leaps in heart rate or changes in their patient’s movement.

“It’s not to replace human contact,” Mr McNamara added. “It’s to supplement that human expertise.” The data could help nurses prioritise patients: “They might say, ‘They’ve already had an appointment, we don’t need to see them again – or we need to see them this afternoon.’”

Swindon Borough Council is leading the pilot project. Of the 200 pieces of kit, 150 will be given to older people supported by the council and 50 to patients looked after by GWH’s community nursing teams.

Council health chief Coun Brian Ford said: “The technology will assist health and care professionals in establishing the longer terms needs of the individual, and the support that may be required to enable them to remain in their own home, which is something the Council fully supports.

“Funding for the pilot was identified as part of the additional winter pressure monies received from central government to assist in the reduction of Delayed Transfer of Care and Length of Stay numbers.

“Caring for vulnerable people is just one of the ways in which the council acts as a force for good, and we are keen to harness this technology.”

MySense was founded in 2016 by former NHS and council chiefs. The technology has been trialled in a number of London boroughs, with the firm saying the technology can establish what a person’s normal behaviour and health is like, enabling them to identify when things change.

The pilot programme in Swindon will run throughout 2019.