“PA’s [telecare] team was professional and well-informed. We appreciated the fact that they got involved with practical delivery, as well as strategic
James Cawley, Strategic Director of Commissioning, Wiltshire Council.
By Steve Carefull, PA adult social care expert
Assistive technology has existed for decades; NHS England's Technology Enabled Care Services programme is just the latest of numerous attempts to promote it. Assistive technology has not been consistently adopted, however, partly because of resistance from social care managers and social workers.
One of the first examples of assistive technology to go mainstream in some areas is telecare - equipping social care customers with passive devices that connect them via the telephone system with a 24-hour monitoring and response service. Many adult social care directors are recognising telecare as an opportunity for both improved citizen outcomes and savings.
Before they can realise this opportunity, councils must understand the benefits that telecare offers them and their citizens, and the actions needed to make telecare projects happen.
Properly deployed, telecare improves the quality of social care services, helping those who might otherwise be isolated and at risk. For example:
round-the-clock passive monitoring ensures that falls in the home are discovered quickly, dramatically improving the prognosis
with reduced need for 15-minute checks, social care workers can make fewer but more worthwhile visits
eliminating unnecessary domiciliary care helps customers to remain independent
third-generation telecare equipment enables two-way video interaction and self-care training
Savings from telecare are substantial. A comprehensive telecare package costs about £750 per annum - equivalent to one hour per week of domiciliary care for a year, and less than two weeks’ residential care.
Getting telecare into the mainstream involves:
implementing service delivery capabilities: sourcing telecare equipment and contracting with providers of installation, monitoring and response
driving a cultural shift so that care workers think of telecare as a default prescription, to be deployed unless there is a clear contra-indication.
Council staff and intermediaries should actively refer people who are not eligible for council-funded care to telecare providers. Private telecare provision benefits these customers, delays entry into council-funded care and creates economies of scale that make the whole service more affordable.
The key challenge of introducing telecare is to bring about the necessary cultural and behavioural changes. PA’s experience of managing major change programmes places us ideally to help make sustainable change happen. We collaborate closely with care managers and providers, and help authorities achieve and measure outcomes from telecare as evidenced by our recent work with Wiltshire Council and Hampshire County Council.
To find out more about how PA can help your organisation use telecare to reduce costs while increasing customers’ independence, please contact us now .