Monitoring in Mental Health Settings


Reduce the distress and discomfort of having vital signs taken in comparison of traditional methods
Enable mental health professionals to deliver more effective detection and intervention for physical deterioration or physical disease risk factors.


This project aims to improve the physical health skills of frontline mental health staff and increase confidence amongst this group in detecting, managing and intervening for physical health problems.

To achieve this, Care City is working in partnership with NELFT, EPUT, UCLPartners and a digital health innovator xim which has developed non-contact camera-based vital sign monitoring technology (Lifelight) to transform physical health monitoring. The project will explore the value of contactless monitoring in improving the way frontline staff can detect, monitor and enable self-management of physical disease and deterioration amongst people with mental health problems.

Lifelight is a digital technology that enables the measurement of patient vital signs: heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure in 60 seconds using just the camera built-in to an everyday device such as a smartphone, tablet or computer. Lifelight doesn’t need any medical specialist hardware such as blood pressure cuffs, it’s completely passive and non-contact, and it’s also simple to use and very fast. Its only requirement is that the patient remains in sight of the camera for at least 40 seconds, while the readings take place. It is then able to detect micro-tonal skin colour changes that signal a patients vital signs.

Care City - LifeLight

Why is this so important?

There is extensive evidence that the incidence of morbidity and mortality due to physical health problems is increased for patients with mental illness. While this population may have regular contact with mental health services, this does not necessarily mean they will receive a physical health assessment, have their physical health monitored or receive the information and support they need. As a result, there has been an increasing call on mental health providers to consider the physical wellbeing of their patients. NHS England has targeted that by 2020/21 at least 280,000 more people with mental health issues should have their physical needs met and this is supported in the Five Year Forward View on Mental Health 2016.

Mental health staff have unparalleled opportunities to enable people to improve their physical health alongside their mental health. Yet one of the most consistent barriers to this is the lack and variability of physical health training and the confidence of mental health in utilising physical health skills. Upskilling and supporting mental health staff to monitor and intervene for deteriorating physical health (in particular cardiovascular health) is therefore an essential tool for enabling parity of esteem for physical and mental health. There is a need for significant cultural change within mental health provisions which embeds physical health as a core responsibility for all clinical staff. 


The project will initially run for 6 months and will evaluate the effectiveness of the tool as well as service users', their carers' and staff acceptability of such digital contactless vital signs technology use on mental health wards. Staff training and evaluation will start in September 2019.

Findings will be analysed and results written up for publication in 2020 and will inform any potential developments for wider roll out within partner hospitals and cross-regionally

Who's involved? The key stakeholders

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50 Cambridge Road,
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