Brain injury often causes memory problems. Patients may miss appointments, forget medication, neglect their work. Diaries can help, but have to be checked; digital organisers are complicated to use. Consequently, people with memory problems begin to depend on others – a spouse, family member or carer – to remind them and organise their lives. Independence is lost.
NeuroPage is a radio-paging technology that reminds users about things they need to do. The concept was originally developed in California by a neuropsychologist and the father of a young man who suffered a brain injury. The service, launched in the UK at the end of 2000, is run by the Oliver Zangwill Centre for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Ely, Cambridgeshire.
The individual wears an ordinary pager and reminders are stored on a central computer. Reminders might be for ‘one-off’ events such as hospital appointments or buying a birthday card. They can also be regular events or tasks, such as checking a to-do list, taking medication or getting ready to go to work or college. At the appropriate time, the computer automatically sends the message to the individual’s pager. A bleep or vibration notifies the wearer, who presses a button to read the message.
At any point users can contact the NeuroPage office (by telephone, letter, fax or email) and update their regular messages and add any ‘one-off’ reminders they may need.