Florence helps keep Alastair tickety-boo

Alistair and Linda Donald
Alistair and Linda Donald

Retired Bellshill engineer Alastair Donald’s career coincided with an era of unprecedented advances in technology.

Now the 62-year-old is reaping the rewards – as his healthcare has been revolutionised via text messages!

The aptly-named Florence helps with Alistair’s heart condition, which was first diagnosed in 1998.

He said: “I never thought I’d spend my retirement fighting ill health.

“But since I had a heart attack in 1998 I’ve been in and out of hospital – including a month-long stay after I developed complications earlier this year.

“I’ve never liked to bother the doctor and, although the hospital care has been great, I like to be in my own home.Thanks to the new texting system I’ve used since May, I’ve been able to do just that.

“It ensures my condition isn’t moving towards a crisis which would mean more time in hospital.”

Florence helps patients aged over 16 who have had hospital treatment for heart failure. They are taught how to self-monitor details such as weight and blood pressure.

The patient texts the details to an automated system, programmed with their specific health details.

Florence replies with advice, including medication reminders, and crucially, the system can identify flare-ups at the earliest stage.

Alastair’s wife Linda said: “I help text the details in on a daily basis.

“One of the symptoms he experiences if things worsen is severe swelling of his legs because of fluid retention.

“Florence is programmed to detect the trigger points.”

If anomalies are detected, such as a rise or drop in blood pressure, an automated alert is sent to the patient.

A specialist nurse is also alerted allowing them to respond to offer advice or help by phone, text or with medical assistance if necessary.

Janice Hewitt, of North Lanarkshire Health and Social Care,said:“Modern technology is increasingly being used in every walk of life.

“This demonstrates how we’re harnessing it to complement our resources.”

For more information e-mail Morag Hearty