Gentoo - Healthwise

Gentoo’s Healthwise system for early detection of the ‘At-risk population’

Gentoo, a housing association based out of Sunderland, has developed a software package which records and monitors all individuals who might be showing signs of cognitive impairment.


Partly funded by Sunderland City Council, a Wellbeing Service was set up to help maximise independent living and reduce the number of people entering institutional care.  Links were made with the local CCG when staff were trained by NHS professionals involved with the diagnosis and treatment of dementia. This formed one element of a larger plan to make Gentoo ‘dementia friendly’. Within their properties Gentoo conservatively estimate that 750 people are living with dementia - a figure set to increase to around 1000 over the next 15 years.


Training frontline staff will help to tackle with this growing problem, but referrals can be slow and be of little use to health workers if certain information is omitted. To speed up and increase the quality of referrals, Gentoo have drawn on all the services they provide as a housing association to produce a new system, Healthwise. Integrated into the current housing management system, all frontline staff will have a responsibility to record their interactions with tenants to build a database that can be easily drawn on by Wellbeing staff.

Some of the data collected will be in direct relation to health, for instance frontline staff will record qualitative data about the health of the people they are interacting with, whilst other indicators will be gradually included as they are ‘discovered’. These indicators are often commonsensical: if maintenance staff are consistently changing the locks on a property due to loss of keys, it might imply some cognitive deterioration symptomatic of dementia. Other patterns in the data will be more surprising, and will be tentatively implemented as they are revealed by the housing associations data gathering.

The software will encourage a range of organisations to work together and will in future support information being transferred across acute and community settings. This feature will be invaluable to health and care workers and should appeal to commissioners when housing associations bid for health and care contracts.



Rather than wait until dementia is diagnosed by health services, preparations can be made early on to ease life when in an advanced stage. By making Healthwise available to nearly everyone a tenant might encounter, repetitive and confusing visits can be avoided. If the system holds Next of Kin details alongside basic health information then they can ensure all tenancy issues, repairs and maintenance or rent issues are dealt with by the appropriate person before a situation becomes critical.

This software system aims to provide people living with dementia with a more streamlined and person centred service.