This week, disabled people who live at Livability Brookside House, staff and supporters were proud to welcome HRH The Princess Royal, Livability’s Patron, to their Edgware home on Wednesday 19th February. The afternoon reception celebrated Livability Brookside’s recent ‘outstanding’ rating from care inspection body CQC, an achievement highlighted by the princess in her speech.
The Princess Royal visited several of Brookside’s 22 residents’ flats, most of whom are profoundly disabled. Peter, Debbie and Harriet demonstrated how assistive communication technology, such as the Alexa device, has increased their independence by helping them to call staff, chat to family and friends and control their flat’s environment. Married couple Peter and Debbie told Her Royal Highness how they could speak to Peter’s family in Spain via Alexa, and how they had celebrated their recent anniversary by visiting their relatives abroad.
Activities coordinator Richard Peel explained to The Princess Royal how Brookside has embraced assistive technology after Livability supporters donated to the charity’s ‘Brightening Lives’ appeal. Other new tech used by residents includes a projector and large-scale screen in the living room, which is used for entertainment and education, including online tutorials residents wish to access.
The Princess Royal heard how adopting assistive tech has also allowed Brookside residents to benefit from trialling a blood pressure monitoring system which sends instant results to their GP. This system is being piloted by the NHS in Edgware, with Brookside selected as one of two test sites. GP Dr Dattani and former Chair of Barnet CCG Dr Debbie Frost were on hand to explain to Her Royal Highness how the immediate feedback of any change in blood pressure can result in significant improvements to health and wellbeing. Service manager says this facility ‘has transformed some residents’ lives’.
Livability CEO Sally Chivers thanked The Princess Royal for her support for the charity’s work and invited her to unveil a plaque commemorating the special visit. Brookside’s oldest resident June Hill (87), who has been supported by Livability since she was a young woman, presented a posy to Her Royal Highness at the end of the reception.