Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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New app makes communicating so much easier

matthewMAINMARTIN ROBSON is on top of the world!

Hull City, his favourite football team, are back in the Premiership and he’s enjoying a new app that helps him communicate with carers and healthcare professionals.

My Health Guide, a new digital health app aimed at helping adults with learning disabilities, was inspired by the tale of Matthew’s Book, an iPad-based document that was created for Matthew Prosser, 35, who has profound learning disabilities, as well as epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Three years ago his parents, Tony and Trish, embarked on a project to record and encapsulate Matthew’s life history and care needs.

Tony said: “Over the years Matthew’s condition has deteriorated and, as a result, his care needs have shifted with time. Sometimes these changes are neither recorded correctly nor heeded and serious problems can arise.

“The catalyst came when we bought Matthew an electronic photo frame for his bedroom at the Barchester Castle Care Village where he stays during the week.

“It dawned on us that it would make sense to get all of the information about Matthew in one place such as an iPad or android device.

“Matthew’s Book is an ever evolving document that features five headings; ‘Get to know me’, ‘Growing up and becoming who I am’, ‘My care needs’, ‘Getting on with me’ and ‘important contacts’.

“It is everything you’d want to know about Matthew in one place and forms a single, digital point of access to all his needs.

“Despite his disabilities and lack of communication Matthew has led a rich life full of experiences and love and we wanted to reflect that. He is a person, too. Sometimes that can be forgotten under a weight of paperwork.

“The fragmented nature of the NHS means that it can be difficult to effectively share up to date paperwork about people across different services.

“This brings it all together in one, easy to read, document that features text, video clips and photographs. It gets rid of that ‘not my patient’ syndrome that can sometimes be prevalent.”

Matthew’s mum, Trish, added: “We’re delighted that Matthew’s Book has gone down so well with everyone and that it is the inspiration for the new My Health Guide app. We’ve done this for all of the other Matthews who need to be heard.”

Leanne Dixon, one of two support workers to provide Matthew with 15 hours of one to one care daily, said: “We were in tears when we watched it as it paints a far better picture of Matthew’s life and needs than any amount of paperwork could achieve.

“You build a strong emotional connection from the start with a document like this and I can see it providing benefits to many patients who are unable to communicate.”

Two hundred patients from Humber NHS Foundation Trust’s Learning Disability service took in a trial of the ‘My Health Guide’ app – which is now being developed by London-based company Maldaba.

Lorenzo Gordon, Maldaba’s co-founder, said: “The feedback has been amazing! There’s a real and growing recognition that it solves a genuine problem within the NHS.”

The app was showcased at a NHS event at Manchester. It can be viewed here:

A short movie about the app, downloadable from iTunes and Google Play Store, can be viewed here.


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