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Technology Supports People with Complex Needs to Lead Independent Lives

An empty care home has become a bespoke facility that will support people with a learning disability and/or autism to live independently. 

St Helens Council has teamed up with Torus Group, the North West’s largest affordable housing provider, and Tunstall Healthcare to regenerate and remodel the building.


The organisations have worked together with the NHS and other specialist partners to implement key technologies to ensure the building is a safe and comfortable housing option for adults with complex care and emotional needs.

The scheme, known as Heathside (pictured above), has eight assisted living apartments that also enjoy communal areas such as lounge, kitchen and dining room.

To appropriately safeguard tenants, whilst enabling them to live independently, the apartments have been fitted with a telecare system that allows tenants to easily request assistance in an emergency, but also provide discreet technology enabled care able to be tailored to their individual needs.


“Heathside is the first pilot project in St Helens that has incorporated such a large amount of specialised technology and will provide homes to people who have previously been living in NHS facilities, out of borough accommodation or those taking the first step towards independence by moving out of their family home,” said Andrea Boughey, Learning Disability Autism and Mental Health Transformation Lead for the Integrated Commissioning Team at St Helens Council.


“This new environment will not only be able to be configured to meet the needs of its first residents but will also be able to adapt over time as their needs change to offer a balance of freedom and support they may never have experienced before.”

The technology at Heathside includes fall detectors, epilepsy sensors and door exit alarms that will automatically alert staff and allow them to respond appropriately. The system also integrates into other onsite technology, such as access control, fire safety and ligature alarm systems.


“It was important to us that the residents could live with the least number of restrictions in place,” said Paula Underwood, Torus Group Head of Torus Support Network.


“The telecare solution we sought, not only needed to provide an emergency call system, but also needed to assist in providing discreet technology enabled care, and most importantly, be a non-invasive way of keeping people safe in their home.


“The innovative system allows the staff to be alerted to the movements of residents and to respond to those movements without restricting people unnecessarily.”


To find out more about the facility, please visit:



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