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What are the Benefits of Telecare? Ultimate Guide to Telecare

Table of Contents

Telecare offers many benefits. This vital technology can transform people’s lives, enabling them to live independently and safely, with the reassurance that help is within easy reach. Telecare is also a valuable partner to health and social care services, as it allows people to be supported in the community. Alongside this, telecare has a key role to play for housing providers and local authorities aiming to deliver life-enhancing and person-centred services for older people.

In the final part of our Ultimate Guide to Telecare, we look at these areas in more detail, covering:

– The advantages of digital telecare

– How telecare enhances the safety and wellbeing of older people

– The positive impact of telecare on health services

– How telecare is beneficial for supported housing providers

– Realising the benefits of telecare

The guide is aimed at housing providers and other organisations who want to make the most of their telecare services to enrich the lives of the people they support, whether in mainstream housing or in purpose-build housing for older people.

The guide is aimed at housing providers and other organisations who want to make the most of their telecare services to enrich the lives of the people they support, whether in mainstream housing or in purpose-build housing for older people.

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

The advantages of digital telecare

Telecare has evolved over the last forty years from pull cord systems and simple wearable alarms. There is now a much greater range of telecare equipment on the market, covering many different elements of daily life. This means people can manage a variety of health conditions at home and are able to benefit from proactive monitoring, as well as emergency assistance.

One of the most significant changes is the shift to digital telecare. This has many advantages: not only is digital faster and more reliable, but it also allows us to link services together to provide comprehensive, co-ordinated and person-centred support for older people.

Digital technology also delivers significant benefits for organisations such as supported housing providers and health services, including a more efficient allocation of resources and access to a wealth of useful information.

How telecare enhances safety and wellbeing for older people

Telecare plays an important role in many people’s lives. An estimated 1.8 million people in the UK rely on this day-to-day, which enables them to:

Live more safely and independently

With real-time monitoring and the ability to access immediate assistance, people can continue to live as self-sufficiently as possible, with the knowledge help is available if needed. Proactive monitoring can prevent any problems from becoming more serious. This can reduce hospital admissions and delay the need for residential care, so people can stay in their homes for longer.

Have more control over their lives

People can continue to manage many aspects of their daily lives thanks to a wide range of telecare equipment. Digital telecare features such as an “I’m OK” facility and video calling mean individuals can choose how and when they accept support.

Receive customised care

Telecare is suitable for multiple needs, from assisting with daily living activities through to dealing with a high level of dependencies. This can be tailored to meet specific requirements and preferences, allowing individuals to be more involved in decisions about their care.

Feel confident and empowered

Telecare acts as a safety net, enabling individuals carry on living full lives with confidence. It also reassures family members their loved ones are safe.

The positive impact of telecare on health services

Alongside the benefits for individuals, telecare is a valuable option as we tackle the challenges of an ageing population and various pressures on our health system by:

Enabling preventative care and early intervention

With proactive monitoring, potential issues can be identified before they become serious. This feeds into a preventative care model, focusing on timely interventions to reduce hospital admissions.

Supporting ageing in place

Telecare allows people to live more independently, whether living in mainstream housing or in purpose-built housing for older people, such as retirement or sheltered housing, extra care housing. This gives our health and social care services more flexibility in handling the needs of older people. It also improves individuals’ experiences, with an emphasis on targeted and person-centred care.

Improving efficiencies in service delivery

Help can be provided when and where it is most needed, making better use of available resources and relieving pressure on our health services. This encourages a more integrated approach, through collaboration and co-ordination.

How telecare is beneficial for supported housing providers

As a housing provider or local authority, telecare is a key part of a bigger picture, helping you create inclusive, accessible and safe environments that empower and enrich the lives of older people.

Digital technology is a significant factor in this, increasing the scope of your services and offering many operational advantages. This allows you to:

Improve safety standards

Digital telecare connects in seconds, is more reliable and offers more functionality for a much safer service.

Deliver person-centred care

Your telecare offering can be easily customised to meet a diverse range of needs and preferences, allowing you to adapt your core services to meet individual requirements.

Increase staff efficiency

Digital systems help staff manage routine day-to-day tasks, allowing them to focus their time where it is most needed. For example, property and equipment maintenance is more straightforward with alerts for issues such as low battery levels and the ability to deal with many faults remotely.

Meet customer expectations

Increasingly, people expect the standards and conveniences they have enjoyed in their own home within supported housing environments. This includes easy access to online services and different communication options, such as video calling.

Create better services

Your telecare services provide a wealth of information, enabling you to make data-driven decisions to improve your offering.

A note from the Housing LIN:

Telecare can reinforce a housing provider’s strategic goals by providing a platform for promoting residents’ independent living, while at the same time increasing the overall efficiency of the housing operation. Additionally, the integration of telecare solutions can enhance the reputation of the housing provider as an innovative and forward-thinking organisation, thereby attracting more residents, new commissioned services and potential investors.

Overall, the implementation of telecare should align with the provider’s aim of delivering effective and sustainable person-centred care while ensuring a high standard of care and support for residents.

How to realise the benefits of telecare

Digital telecare enhances the lives of older people, contributes to an effective healthcare system, and opens new doors for supported housing providers to deliver personalised and responsive services.

But, in order to realise these benefits, it’s important to take a strategic approach.

There are a number of key steps to take when designing or upgrading your telecare offer:

1. Assess people’s requirements

Your starting point should be an assessment of your residents’ needs and the main risks or challenges they face. This will help you judge where your telecare services can make the most significant impact.

2. Define your objectives

What are your aims with your telecare services? This may include reducing operational costs, giving people more control, helping customers feel more connected, providing better personal and building security, and ensuring the ongoing safety and flexibility of your services. Having clear goals will guide your strategy.

3. Invest in the right technology

Ensure this can be integrated with your existing systems and can be adapted to meet future demands.

4. Adopt best practice

Learn from others’ experiences and follow the latest guidance. Technology for our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (TAPPI) sets out the essential TAPPI principles and provides a useful framework for designing relevant and impactful telecare services.

5. Involve all stakeholders

Engaging with your staff and your customers at all stages will help you develop more effective services that address important requirements.

6. Provide comprehensive training

You need to ensure staff are able to support the people using your telecare services. Organise demos and hands-on training so they are familiar with the systems.

7. Monitor and review

Assess the effectiveness of your telecare services by identifying your priorities or key performance indicators. Invite feedback and address any issues so you can maximise the use of the technology and make improvements.

A note from the Housing LIN:

“Technology is helping transform the delivery of at home care. The evolution of telecare and smart housing is already fostering service improvements in practice – for example, supporting early hospital discharge or allowing more timely interventions to delay residential care. 

The benefits of creating smart living environments are wide-ranging: from improving health outcomes and enhancing quality of life, to maximising resources for more efficient and effective health and social care services.

With digital technology, it’s possible to manage an increasingly wide and complex mix of needs and aspirations, promoting greater independence and self-determination. But the sector needs to plan for this now to ensure all housing can meet the demands of the future.”

Our Ultimate Guide to Telecare

As the recent government Telecare Stakeholder Action Plan acknowledges: “Telecare services are a vital means of preventing, reducing or delaying the development of care and support needs.”

Telecare offers many benefits for individuals, as well as organisations such as housing providers. It’s important to approach this correctly, however, to capitalise on these. By harnessing digital technology, you can create flexible, far-reaching and cost-effective telecare services that enrich the lives of older people.

This is the final part of our Ultimate Guide to Telecare, which provides an introduction to telecare to help housing providers and local authorities make the most of these important services, covering:

What is telecare?

How telecare services help

The essentials of telecare equipment

What are the benefits of telecare?

Contact us if you have any questions about how you can implement digital telecare for your organisation.

 


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/