Edinburgh community alarm service wins European award

The City of Edinburgh Council has won a prestigious international award for the Capital’s community alarm service.

The Community Alarm Telecare Service (CATS) was awarded the accolade after being chosen from nominees from across Europe in the Best Practice category. The awarding body, the Consortium for Assistive Solutions Adoption (CASA), aims to share knowledge to develop technology that assists disabled and older people to lead more independent lives.

Eight and a half thousand people currently use the alarms throughout Edinburgh and the CATS system can be adapted to meet the specific needs of each individual. This often means that users can live more independently, rather than going into residential care.

The Council’s Health, Social Care and Housing Vice Convener, Councillor Cammy Day, said: “This is a tremendous achievement and very well deserved. We are committed to helping disabled and older people live as independently as possible and Edinburgh’s Community Alarm Service uses cutting-edge technology to help us achieve this.

“It is very important that vulnerable people feel safe in their own homes and CATS provides reassurance that help is at hand when they need it.”

CATS provides a 24 hour alarm system to homes across the city, enabling Council staff to respond to emergencies and provide support to vulnerable people, their carers and families. The alarms are available in many different forms including bed and chair detectors and button alarms than can be pressed when the user needs assistance. They can also detect extreme temperatures and alert support services when the user suffers from a fall or seizure.

When the alarms are activated, an alert is sent to a dedicated CATS team who make a decision about the best way to respond to the alarm. In the case of a fall, support workers will attend and the team will call an ambulance if the person is unwell or has sustained any injuries. The alarm users may also leave keys with CATS, so that they can gain access to their property in the case of an emergency.

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