Nick Weston, Chief Commercial Officer, Lilli
The health and care system in the UK is overwhelmed. With growing demand from an ageing population, constrained budgets, workforce recruitment and retention difficulties, and backlogs for treatment, there is a growing gap between the demand and delivery of services. Winter brings another level of pressure to the system driven by seasonal illness and low temperatures – further impacting the system’s ability to deliver care.
The cold weather presents a very real challenge for many, with 13 million households keeping their heating switched off during some of the coldest months last year according to Which. With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to bite, this is the harsh reality many people will be faced with as temperatures drop over the coming months, putting those who are already vulnerable at higher risk and adding increased pressure on the system.
Our data shows that some homes reached as low as five degrees last winter – with more than 60 percent of people monitored by Lilli at risk of low home temperatures between December 2022 and January 2023. To put this into context, the World Health Organisation recommends a safe indoor temperature for the general population of 18 degrees. The harm these plummeting temperatures could cause to an elderly person is stark; low body temperatures among seniors can lead to a cascade of other health risks such as raised blood pressure, lower resistance to respiratory infections, sleep disruption, depression, anxiety and isolation.
The government has stepped in by announcing multiple packages of support which, although welcome, will only scratch the surface. This is why at Lilli we’re launching our Winter Care Fund. This will allow access to up to £1,000,000 of matched funding in order to procure and roll out remote monitoring technology to tackle winter and population health challenges before the cold weather starts to really take hold.
By taking this proactive step, local authorities and caregivers can help to support those who need it most. And reduce the risk to life for the most vulnerable in society throughout the upcoming winter season.
Lilli’s Winter Care fund will match any organisation that wishes to tackle challenges within the care system using a proactive, digital solution. By adopting remote monitoring technology, local authorities and adult social service teams can be on the front foot and spot patterns of behaviour – or conditions like low temperatures – which suggest people may be struggling without carers being present. They can then intervene before health starts to decline and focus constrained resources where they are most needed.
In the short term, we can make a real difference in supporting the most vulnerable during the coldest months of the year and ensuring their homes stay heated. But longer term, implementing remote monitoring technology now will be a catalyst for transforming the social care ecosystem, piece by piece.
The benefits will enable a ripple effect into the wider health system delivering better outcomes for the entire population. Our successful pilots in Reading, Nottingham and North Tyneside have proved that remote technology amplifies caregiver hours, accelerates hospital discharge rates and has the potential to save millions of pounds. This allows funds to be redeployed into areas where they are really needed. We need to break the cycle and put the right digital foundations in place now to prevent further harm and overhaul our gridlocked healthcare system. Only by adopting smart technology will we see real positive change