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Aged care facilities tap into emergency watch

SMS Mobile Watch
Photo: The emergency watch
Two Sydney brothers have developed a world-first emergency watch for older patients, disabled people and people with disorders.

The all-in-one waterproof smart phone, location tracker and emergency alarm uses GPS and WiFi, and is being used at several Australian aged care facilities.

Paul Apostolis and Peter Apostolopoulos developed the unique SOS Mobile Watch after they realised the limitations of a traditional emergency neck pendant, which they had given to their father post-stroke.

Mr Apostolis said the traditional pendant only worked within a 50 metre radius of the home phone line, restricting their father’s social routine.

“My father is quite independent - he loves to go on his daily walks,” he said.

“We realised we needed to develop something that would work outside of homes so that’s where the personal emergency alarm came into it.

“Peter worked with a lot of retirement villages and independent living facilities and there was a real big need for something like our product.

“We decided you could actually launch a business from this and the response we have had has been overwhelming.

“It’s not just people purchasing the watch for their elderly parents but also from the health sector - nurses, occupational therapists and doctors have been recommending our product as well.

“We realised there’s a real big demand for something like our product.”

Mr Apostolis said aged care facilities including Anglican Retirement Villages, Bankstown City Aged Care and Opal Aged Care have been using the watches, while carers are also purchasing the watches for people with disabilities and disorders.

He said the watch, which will be rolled out into south east Asian markets in coming years, is ideal for health providers in community care.

The waterproof watch has a location finder using GPS, GSM (mobile towers) and Wi-Fi, and features a red SOS button that dials three pre-set contact numbers.

The watch also provides medicine and appointment reminders, has a pedometer to track movement activity. and enables the wearer to make two way hands-free calls.

A perimeter safe-area can also be activated on the watch, sending notifications to the carer when the watch exits the area.

Mr Apostolis said the watch connects with iPhone and Android apps and a carer’s web dashboard, enabling carers to monitor, report and locate the watch.

“For the nurses, they can monitor where their patients are at any given time,” he said.

“It’s also easy for the patient to use - they are finding that they are not restricted to a room or within a particular facility.

“If ever anything was to happen to the wearer, all they would need to do would be to press the SOS red button and it will automatically call a monitoring service or it could be a family member or a carer.

“Unlike the traditional pendant…our product works just like a mobile phone and works anywhere, anytime.

“It’s an ageing population and what we want to do is offer that peace of mind for the carer and also the wearer.”

The brothers, through their health care technology business mCareWatch, released the first edition of the watch two years ago and are now planning to release their third edition of the watch within months, which will feature Bluetooth and will also be able to measure the wearer’s blood pressure and blood sugar.

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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords