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How Telecare Services Help: Ultimate Guide to Telecare

Table of Contents

Telecare provides 24/7 monitoring services, enabling older and vulnerable individuals to access help easily when needed. This is a vital lifeline in emergency situations or when there is a problem that requires immediate attention. In addition to this, telecare services can also be used more proactively, such as making outgoing wellbeing calls or using telecare data to improve support.  

In the second part of our Ultimate Guide to Telecare, we look at the role of telecare services, covering:

– What are telecare services?

– The importance of monitoring services

– What can telecare services help with?

– The benefits of proactive telecare and examples of this

– The role of digital

This guide is aimed at housing providers and local authorities who want to understand how to make the most of their telecare services. These are an essential part of the support you provide customers whether in your mainstream housing or purpose-built accommodation for older people. But telecare can go beyond a reactive approach to tie in with a preventative care model and provide valuable insight for better services.

If you’re looking for telecare for yourself or a family member, you might like to start with part one of our guide What is telecare?, which covers the essentials of telecare in plain English.

We’re pleased to collaborate with the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN) to bring you this Ultimate Guide to Telecare.

“Technology is advancing at pace, with digital innovations rapidly transforming the way health and care is provided in the home and home-like environments. All housing providers must ensure the accommodation they manage or plan to build is digitally enabled so residents are not excluded from any services, equipment or products that require internet connectivity.

From telecare to smart speakers, and from Wi-Fi-assistive technology to smart metering, the housing sector urgently needs to switch on to becoming ‘digi-ready’ or risk preventing residents being able to fully access all the online choices that can support their independent living.

This Ultimate Guide to Telecare is an introduction to the fundamentals of telecare, with information on how housing providers can maximise their care and support offer so people can enjoy a greater quality of life.” 

Jeremy Porteus, Chief Executive, Housing LIN

What are telecare services?  

Telecare services empower people to live independently for longer. They provide care and assistance through the use of telecare equipment, such as personal alarms and sensors in the home, which are able to communicate with a monitoring centre when a button is pressed or a sensor is activated.

This offers the reassurance of a trained operator on hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, who is able to arrange for help when this is needed.

You can purchase telecare services privately for yourself or a loved one. Alternatively, you may be part of an organisation that provides telecare services for people in the community or those living in supported housing.

The importance of monitoring services

Also known as careline services or monitoring services, telecare services are delivered through three key elements:

– The telecare equipment – either worn by the person or installed in their home.

– A base unit – this connects the telecare equipment through to the monitoring centre.

– The monitoring centre – where the telecare calls are handled by a team of specialist operators.

The reassurance of 24/7 monitoring is a key feature of telecare services. This gives individuals and their families the peace of mind and confidence they can continue living a full life, with the ability to access help when this is needed.

Telecare services can be an important part of a wrap-around care plan that offers tailored and flexible support to meet an individual’s specific requirements.

As a housing provider or local authority, you may purchase all elements of your telecare service from one telecare service provider or you can source the monitoring services separately. For example, Appello offers comprehensive digital warden call systems and a digital dispersed alarm, both of which are designed to connect to any monitoring centre with digital capabilities. We also provide a stand-alone careline service that manages over 5 million calls each year from people across the UK.

What can telecare services help with?

Telecare services are a lifeline in emergency situations or when there is a problem that needs immediate attention. With a wearable personal alarm, these can be accessed at the touch of a button if somebody:

– has had a fall

– feels unwell

– needs reassurance.

A telecare call can also be triggered by sensors, such as:

– A fall detector – this registers if a person has fallen.

– A bed sensor – this detects whether somebody is bed or not, raising an alarm if a person has got out of bed and not returned after a certain amount of time.

– A door sensor – this sends an alert if the door has been opened at certain times, such as during the night, or to flag if somebody hasn’t returned home at an expected time.

– An environmental sensor – this may detect a concern in the home such as a fire, flood or other safety concern in the property.

These telecare calls connect to a specialist operator at the monitoring centre, who has been trained to assess the situation, provide reassurance and make sure the right help is provided. That help could be contacting a family member, friend, neighbour or the emergency services.

The benefits of proactive telecare

Telecare has typically been used as a reactive service as described above, dealing with events that have already occurred. But there is also scope to use telecare services more proactively.

Health and social care are increasingly moving towards a preventative model. The Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) helps us understand what this means, describing it as: “intervening early to support individuals, helping people retain their skills and confidence, and preventing need or delaying deterioration wherever possible”.

The aim is to promote independence and quality of life for people as they get older. One way to do this is by anticipating and dealing with any health and wellbeing issues before they become more serious, reducing the need for hospitalisation or a move to constant supervision, such as in a care or nursing home.

Telecare services can play an important role in proactive monitoring. This is due to the diverse range of telecare equipment now on the market and advances in technology, in particular the implementation of digital telecare.

A note from Housing LIN:

Technology can be a principal driver in a preventative approach to health and care at home. This can be harnessed to prevent accidents at home or ensure more efficient responses when they do occur, keeping people safe and independent for longer.

Housing providers need to explore fresh ways of using technology-enabled care and consider how different systems can work together to create an overall smart living environment. For example, sensors that monitor specific lifestyle elements and can highlight a change in routine to indicate a possible health issue. “

Examples of proactive telecare services

Housing providers and local authorities are able to use outgoing telecare calls to check in with customers and identify areas where additional support may be needed. These include:

– Wellbeing or reassurance checks – these are regular scheduled calls to make sure there are no issues.

– Reminders for appointments, meals and medication – these can be used to help with daily living as well as to support a return from hospital.

– Social contact calls – with the aim of tackling loneliness and social isolation.

These should be discussed with individuals beforehand to agree a schedule for regular calls and make clear what other situations may trigger an outgoing call.

Research for TEC Scotland showed the value of proactive telecare services, reporting these were received positively by staff, carers and customers. In particular, this noted how: “Customers felt more connected and less isolated.”

The role of digital

Digital technology enables you to deliver better telecare services, whether these are dealing with immediate problems and emergencies, or being used as part of a proactive approach.

From a safety point of view, digital is much more reliable and has a faster connection speed. It gives you more options for enhancing your telecare services, such as incorporating video functions or integrating with other systems for joined-up services.

Importantly, digital also allows you to collect and analyse information, which can transform your telecare services.

This provides a wealth of data you can use to:

– Build a better understanding of your customers and their needs.

– Show where further intervention may be required.

– Highlight how you can improve your services.

For example, you can access real-time insights into health and wellbeing indicators, such as monitoring the sleep, nourishment and movement patterns of an individual since their last visit. These patterns of behaviour help create a clearer picture of a person’s habits and flag any changes, ensuring the best possible outcome for individuals.

Alongside this, your digital telecare systems can help you operate more effectively as an organisation and assist your staff in their day-to-day jobs. This includes:

– The use of security features, such as video door entry systems to allow secure access and the monitoring centre to verify visitors and allow remote access.

– The ability to identify where support is most needed – for example, by reviewing overnight records to prioritise who needs a visit or call that day.

– The ability to carry out non-intrusive monitoring of health and wellbeing to highlight where additional intervention may be beneficial.

As a housing provider or local authority, this means you can deliver efficient, effective and co-ordinated services that make more of your resources while empowering people to live their lives fully.

A note from Housing LIN:

“It’s crucial housing providers think strategically about their telecare services. In particular, considering how these can be integrated with the overall care/support offer as well as the wider health and care system to promote a more joined up approach with effective and timely interventions.

It’s also important get the digital infrastructure right to ensure compatibility both now and in the future. Digital solutions can then be adapted to meet the needs and preferences of individual users, involving them in the decision-making process. This means ensuring telecare is co-produced and customer driven.”

Continue our Ultimate Guide to Telecare

Telecare services act as a vital lifeline, providing reassurance that help is within easy reach when needed. But they can also be used proactively, which reinforces a preventative care approach to promote people’s health and wellbeing.

Digital telecare makes it possible for housing providers and local authorities to achieve both of these objectives and create person-centred telecare services.

Our Ultimate Guide to Telecare is aimed at housing providers and local authorities and answers your questions about telecare and how you can make the most of the technology to support your customers. Parts three – four will be coming out very soon and will be covering:

– The essentials of telecare equipment

– What are the benefits of telecare?



About Appello

Appello is a market leader in digital telecare and Technology Enabled Care (TEC). We work with housing providers to deliver safer and happier communities, using technology to help empower and enrich people’s lives. We’ve been creating and delivering digital telecare for a long time now, so you can feel confident that we have all the essentials covered while also providing innovative and comprehensive solutions. Contact us to find out how we can help you.

About Housing LIN

The Housing LIN is a sophisticated network bringing together over 20,000 housing, health and social care professionals in England, Wales and Scotland to exemplify innovative housing and technology solutions for an ageing population. Recognised by government and industry as a leading ‘ideas lab’ on specialist/supported housing, our online and regional networked activities, and consultancy services:

  • connect people, ideas and resources to inform and improve the range of housing that enables older and disabled people to live independently in a home of their choice,
  • provide insight and intelligence on latest funding, research, policy and practice to support sector learning and improvement,
  • showcase what’s best in specialist/supported housing and feature innovative projects and services that demonstrate how lives of people have been transformed, and
  • support commissioners and providers to review their existing provision and develop, test out and deliver solutions so that they are best placed to respond to their customers’ changing needs and aspirations.

For information about the Housing LIN’s comprehensive list of online resources on technology enable care and housing, visit: https://www.housinglin.org.uk/TECH/