Orizon SMART, winner of the “Technology in a Care Home” award at the Social Care Premier Supplier awards

Orizon SMART, winner of the “Technology in a Care Home” award at the Social Care Premier Supplier awards 945 640 Belén Laya Asensio

We are delighted to announce that we have won the Technology in a Care Home award at the Social Care Premier Supplier awards!

This award recognises technology in a care home setting that supports both residents and staff in providing better care and support.

This award will be given to an organisation that demonstrates innovation and excellence in technology designed with a care home setting in mind. Candidates must demonstrate passion, dedication and a thorough knowledge of the tech they provide, and the ultimate difference made to the lives of the workforce and/or the people they support. This award is open to organisations that supply to the care home sector.

We’re thrilled that Orizon SMART has won this award as we believe it is the future of continence care.

Orizon SMART is a rechargeable sensor that attaches to smart continence products and notifies the caregiver when the product requires changing. It comprises of a top-quality all-in-one slip, with a printed sensor, a transmitter clipped onto the slip, plus a mobile and web application. Click here to find out more!

How does embracing technology improve care, and what are the obstacles to implementing technology?

How does embracing technology improve care, and what are the obstacles to implementing technology? 2273 1658 Belén Laya Asensio

Last year during the Care Show, one of the most well-known fairs of the care industry in the UK, we did a short poll with over 200 healthcare professionals. 89% of the respondents said they would embrace technology that could improve continence care so, we asked our Distributor Channel Manager here at Ontex, Angela Gillespie, to share some of her thoughts on this topic. Angela, also known as Ange, supports distributors and care homes to use our continence care products and, in the below article, she discusses what embracing technology in care homes could look like, and what the challenges could be when implementing technology…

A continence care background
Having worked in the continence care market since 1998, I’ve spent a whopping 25 years discussing what great continence care looks like. I’ve been at Ontex for nearly nine years now, and it’s really within the last handful of years that I think we’ve seen a technology wave washing over care homes…whether they are ready for it or not!

A technological revolution
Thinking about it, I believe that COVID-19 forced a lot of care homes to react to technology. For example, when there were no visitors allowed, Facetime and Zoom became the substitute for a cuppa and catch-up for many residents. I’ve heard from my customers that, although it felt uncomfortable to adapt when there was so much going on (understatement!), ultimately they saw the benefits when their team was pushed out of their tech comfort zones. Because, although most people have mobile phones now, it doesn’t mean they are comfortable with the next technological step. This goes for both young and older generations too.

Since then, technology has been slowly becoming the norm. For example, electronic patient records (EPR) are now considered more commonplace. For those yet to adopt, electronic patient records (Nourish Care is a popular choice) are a great tool that allows the secure sharing of patient information. This means less risk of lost information, quicker access for healthcare professionals, and ultimately, better care. Yet, although EPR companies were added to the Health Systems Support Framework in 2019, it’s only now they are becoming more popular.

Change can be scary
Personally, I believe it is because the unknown can feel unnerving. Healthcare professionals work hard and have limited time, so changing processes and introducing new technology can feel alarming.

We recently completed our first UK pilot of Orizon SMART. This is an electronic sensor for continence care that alerts the caregiver when the incontinence product needs changing. When we began the trial, we held sessions with the staff, residents, and relatives to understand why they may feel reluctant about the trial. It wasn’t paying lip service, we listened to understand how to make the technology more accessible.

For example, one support worker was concerned that it seemed confusing to pair the sensor clip to the android phones provided. We were able to give her the phone with the app downloaded and a clip to try it herself. She then waved the clip over the phone and it paired within seconds. So she both felt listened to, and her concerns were alleviated.

Because of this, we try to ensure that our training does exactly what it says on the tin; it’s straightforward and tells you what you need to know. With our recent trial, one of the benefits was being able to train the team in short 15-minute sessions, so it didn’t have a negative impact on the day and you didn’t feel like you’re back at school! We then provide hands-on support whenever it’s needed. The home felt that it made embracing the technology less daunting and easily demonstrated that it was there to support carers rather than take more time from them.

A sector underfunded
While encouraging everyone to be an active part of the journey will help to overcome some of the obstacles, the next issue is the budget.

It’s no secret that the care sector can struggle to afford emerging technology, even when there are clear benefits. Luckily, there is an increasing focus on implementing technology, which includes some reasonable grants and funding to help healthcare settings on their way. For example, NHSX is providing £8.2 million in funding to support digitisation in social care, which is broken down into different regions. Having the initial funding when implementing technology really helps to get over one of the main hurdles. With Orizon SMART, although the initial cost can seem high, after a few weeks we have seen care homes across Europe reach close to cost-neutral. Many factors feed into this, but they can include a reduction in wet beds, unnecessary product usage, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Not just cost saving
Although technology could help with cost saving and a reduction in physical paperwork, it’s also worth considering the additional added benefits that you can’t assign a monetary value to. For example, our UK trial of Orizon SMART has shown multiple residents sleeping a full eight hours at night. This compares to when each resident would be woken up multiple times a night due to conducting a physical continence product check. With our sensor and product, this can instead be checked electronically. But, the real benefit is how the residents now act when they’ve had a good night’s sleep. Apparently, they are noticeably calmer, happier, and more interactive during the day. This then has a positive effect on other residents and staff because it’s a nicer environment to work in. This, in turn, could even increase staff retention because it more the job more enjoyable. So, what cost do you assign to that?

Final thoughts
Over the past few years, I have seen a shift in the healthcare sector to become more accepting of technology and that’s really great to see. With some many tools out there, it really is time to embrace technology. But, I also understand why some may be reluctant to do so. Here, I think it’s down to the suppliers to bridge the gap, making it easier to embrace and implement tech as it’s there to make lives better, not create difficulties.

With this new attitude to technology emerging, I’m excited to see how the care sector can be supported to continue providing quality care.


To find out more about Orizon SMART, a continence solution created by Ontex, please click here.

Ontex wins the Award “Best Digital Innovation 2023” for the Orizon Smart solution

Ontex wins the Award “Best Digital Innovation 2023” for the Orizon Smart solution 2560 1707 Belén Laya Asensio

Every year the CIO Leadership Summit gathers hundreds of IT leaders from all major companies in Belgium to network, share experiences to learn from CIO peers and visionary industry experts, and discuss a wide variety of topics, envisioning the growing intersection of business, society and technology.

This summit serves as a magnifying glass to the new digital trends and cutting-edge technologies that are reshaping IT strategies and operating models. Within this context, the CIO Leadership Summit hosts their annual Corporate IT awards, one of the most prestigious recognition of excellence for companies and organizations, from the private and public sector, that deliver tangible customer experience through leading-edge implementation of information technology. And today we are proud to announce that Ontex has been one of the winners for “Best Digital Innovation” thanks to our Orizon Smart solution.

The award recognises the commitment of the company to go the extra mile to build significant IT capabilities, foster agility, repurpose IT assets, support sustainability objectives, and amplify digital experience in a smart way.

– Belgium’s Corporate IT Awards 2023

This recognition is the result of years of cross-functional team work with a clear goal of developing a solution based on market needs, and with the potential to have a real significant impact on people’s lives in care and hospital settings.

Curious to explore how this winning innovation, Orizon Smart, can make an impact on your organization? Contact us and we’ll be happy to get in touch!

Belgian National TV News features Orizon Smart as technology that can help release nurses’ heavy workload

Belgian National TV News features Orizon Smart as technology that can help release nurses’ heavy workload 883 523 Belén Laya Asensio

In July 2022, the Belgian Government announced an extra budget of 21 million euros to invest in innovative tools and technology that can help relieve some work pressure from nurses in hospitals.

As an example of how this special funding can be materialized, the Vitaz hospital in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, presented this week to the press our Orizon Smart solution for incontinence. The Belgian minister of Public Health, Frank Vandenbroucke, also came personally to this hospital to see what results this type of technology is producing and to stress the importance of innovation as a key element to help lower the nurses’ work pressure and increase their satisfaction.

The problem of work pressure in nursing is enormous. The staff shortage is really acute, and they are under a lot of stress, so you have to take a whole battery of measures. Both, additional resources to recruit nurses, and of course, technology which is a big part of the answer. And that is why we are making this big investment in technology that improves the lives of nurses and healthcare professionals.
– Frank Vandenbroucke
Public Health Minister of Belgium

During this visit, Marie Blondeel, one of the nurses of the hospital, made a live demo of the solution and explained the key benefits she sees in using Orizon Smart regularly:

What we mostly notice is that we don’t need to disturb and wake up the patient so much. Those are bedridden patients who get really exhausted every time they are being turned around to change their incontinence products. As a consequence, they are often restless and agitated, especially at night.
– Marie Blondeel

This solution increases the quality of care, and it also saves us time that we can spend with the patient.
– Marie Blondeel

Curious to watch the full reportage? Check it out on VRT News (in Dutch) or on the regional TV for a longer version, TVO (in Dutch).

Hands holding

What is the importance of quality interactions between carers and residents? 

What is the importance of quality interactions between carers and residents?  1200 800 Anna Lambrix

Last year, we did a short poll with over 200 healthcare professionals at the UK Care Show 2022. These results confirmed that a huge 93% of healthcare professionals didn’t agree that individuals in a care setting were getting quality interactions with carers. Main reasons being staff shortages and not enough time.
To explore this important topic further, we have interviewed one of our Nurse Advisors at Ontex, Louise Heelan. Louise, who frequently visits care settings across the UK to support continence care, shares below her thoughts on what quality interactions mean to her, why it’s a necessity and how to overcome possible obstacles…


Louise Heelan, one of our Nurse Advisors at Ontex

My journey in care

I began my care journey when I was 17 as an apprentice in a local nursing care home. It was brilliant as it allowed on-the-job training while completing my studies. From there, I became a registered nurse, working within several of the different acute sector settings from care of elderly wards to orthopaedics and discharge co-ordination, before joining my local CCG as part of a team implementing Continuing Care. Finally, I joined Ontex as a Nurse Advisor. As a registered nurse, I renew my nurse registration yearly and visit our customers to support the best continence care practice. After working in healthcare for over 20 years, I believe the main ingredient to good quality care is positive interactions.

Recognising and respecting

People refer to quality interactions as excellent person-centred care, but what does this really mean? When I first became a support worker, some of us were taught how to give hand and foot massages so our residents could enjoy ‘pamper sessions’. At the time, I thought this meant we were having great interactions. Being surrounded by passionate healthcare professionals, I was exposed to what was important, but I didn’t fully understand it as I do now.

What I mean is that having great interactions with a resident or patient isn’t just about doing ‘fun’ things with them, like painting their nails. It also includes making every interaction with them a positive one. It might mean that they feel physically supported when standing up when they are at risk of a fall, their preference for how strong they like their tea is recognised, or they feel like their dignity is being respected during personal care.

In particular, when a resident requires personal care support, they are in a physically and emotionally vulnerable position. As their carer, I was always focused on how to recognise what they might be feeling, and demonstrating that I respected them not only as a resident but as an individual with feelings, a wealth of life experience, and preference of how they liked to be cared for..

The impact of interactions

As I progressed in my care career from a support worker to a nurse, I began to appreciate the impact of interactions; not just with the residents and patients, but their relatives and carers too.

When we were short-staffed, I found that I couldn’t give patients the quality interactions they deserved. For example, be unable to sit with them for a few more minutes after getting them settled into bed. I saw that for the individuals, this negatively impacted their mood.

Imagine working in an office, yet nobody really spoke to you. You may begin to feel a little despondent and isolated. Then, think about a good day when people ask about you and make you feel valued. It makes the day a little bit brighter. It’s exactly the same in a healthcare setting.

Yet, purely functional interactions with patients also have a negative impact on carers. As a nurse, I entered the profession because I wanted to make a positive difference. So on the days I couldn’t, it felt like a bad day. We’re not robots, and neither are the people we look after. Because of that, I and others would often find ourselves working over our finish time to try and ensure individuals had the time and interaction they deserved. This helped with feeling good about the job I was doing, but then led to a work-life imbalance.

Supporting those in the healthcare sector

In my current role, I can go into healthcare settings and support carers with how to use our continence care products. Having first-hand experience allows me to understand the obstacles they are currently facing, which can have an impact on quality interactions.
According to our survey, 50% of those asked thought that not having enough staff is preventing quality interactions. Anecdotally, my customers have discussed that with the current staff shortages in care, there simply isn’t enough time to spend the additional time with residents that they deserve. And this makes them feel exactly the way I had done, they want to give their patients and residents better interactions.

Looking to technology

One of the possible solutions is embracing new technology for healthcare. This will never replace care worker roles but should help to reduce time spent on day-to-day tasks, which in turn allows more time for one-to-one interactions.
This could include technology for electronic patient records, water-intake monitoring, or continence care support, like our Orizon SMART offering. Our Orizon SMART is a rechargeable sensor that attaches to smart continence products and notifies where the product needs changing. As this reduces the need for physical continence checks, this frees up additional time for the carer to spend with the resident for other personal care, or to make sure the cuppa is just how they like it!
We have recently been piloting Orizon SMART across Europe and our trial results also support that looking to technology can save caregivers time, which then can then be used in spending time with patients. For example, in our recent trial in Germany, support workers saved an incredible two hours a day when using our smart solution. Imagine the positive impact this could have, especially with the current staff shortages we are seeing in the healthcare sector.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, the majority of people go into the carer profession because they like to help others. So when unable to give the care they know they can, it can impact their mental well-being and job satisfaction. From an individual’s point of view, they look to their carer to support them both physically and emotionally to a certain aspect. Looking to technological support could be one of the ways to increase a carer’s time to spend with a resident, which is a win-win all around.

To find out more about Orizon SMART, a continence solution created by Ontex, please click here.


[1] Between 9.9% and 36.1% of the population over 60 years of age is reported to suffer from incontinence. WHO study on incontinence, 2017, page 1, retrieved on May 10th, 2021

[2] UN report on ageing population, 2017, page 1

[3] UN population report, 2015, page 9, retrieved May 10, 2021

Microsoft highlights our Orizon Smart solution as a more human approach to incontinence management

Microsoft highlights our Orizon Smart solution as a more human approach to incontinence management 1757 1012 aurelie.salsarulo

Microsoft has published an article about Orizon Smart emphasizing the use of state-of-the-art technology to considerably relieve the work of nursing stuff.

The Orizon Smart solution includes an IoT device that is clipped onto the incontinence products. It accurately measures the saturation level and the risk of leakage to alert caregivers when it is necessary to change the products. This clip-on device with sensors is connected to Microsoft’s Azure cloud and the support of their team of experts was one of the key factors to achieve a successful solution.

Not only we see benefits related to the time relieved from the staff, but also to the comfort and dignity of the residents at care homes. With this innovative and technologically-advance solution, it is no longer needed to unnecessarily wake the residents up to perform incontinence materials checks during the night. And, as a result, our beloved ones can sleep for a longer uninterrupted time.

Check out how our EVP R&D & Sustainability, Annick de Poorter, explains more about this on the video and article posted on Microsoft Belgium’s blog!

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