Telehealth trial aims to improve home care for depression

Sufferers of severe depression living in northwest Surrey will pilot new technology aimed at improving care at home, reports

The trial uses behavioural activation therapy via tablet computers, helping sufferers reduce behaviours that maintain depression and instead encourage positive activities.

Participants will have access to a 10 inch tablet computer, known as a 'HomePod', and are expected to regularly update information regarding their mood, wellbeing and the completion of agreed tasks.

People living in the Spelthorne and Runnymede areas are the first to trial the telehealth programme, developed by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and telehealth specialists Medvivo, before it is rolled out across Surrey. It is expected that 100 local people will have the opportunity to take part over the next two years, reports

Dr Helen Rostill, director of innovation and development at Surrey and Borders, believes the technology offers more ways to interact with councillors, but will not replace existing face-to-face services.

"We already see people in their own homes, and will continue to do so, but we know there are factors that prevent people from making contact, and that people can simply have trouble taking that important first step towards engaging with us," she said.

"Telehealth enables us to connect with the person where they are - not just geographically, but where they are in their mind-set when it comes to accessing treatment and keeping to their treatment plan."

The trial will begin later this month.