Telecare and Assistive Technology

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Elderly couple using technology

Introduction

Assistive Technology is a range of devices that can help people be more independent and do things for themselves. Assistive Technology is not intended to replace people but to work with them. This page has been written to help people with a disability use Assistive Technology. It will talk about electronic Assistive Technology that is run by electricity or battery. This is sometimes called Telecare or Lifeline.

What is Telecare?

Telecare is a range of technology, such as alarm units and sensors, to help you live independently at home for longer.

You can use Telecare to remind you of things you need to do, such as take your medication. If you need help, for example if you’ve fallen over at home, a Telecare system can automatically alert staff at a response centre who can call for assistance for you.

A Telecare system isn’t intended to replace people, but it can be a helpful part of a package of care and support which fits into your everyday life.

How Telecare can help you

Here are a few practical examples of how Telecare can help you stay independent at home:

  • You may be familiar with personal alarms where you push a button on a pendant to raise an alarm if you fall, but did you know you can get a fall detector that can automatically sense if you’ve fallen? It alerts someone, usually a member of staff at a response centre, without you needing to push a button first. If you need more help, staff at the response centre, can call a friend, relative or carer for you, or call the emergency services if required.
  • Motion sensors can be installed to automatically switch on your bathroom or hallway lights at night when you get out of bed. This can reduce the risk of you tripping and falling in the dark. If you’re worried about taking your medicines correctly, a medication reminder can store your medicines and sound an alert when it’s time to take them.
  • If you worry about burglary, an intruder detector can detect movement in your home when you’re out or in bed and alert a response centre.

Some of the benefits of Telecare are:

  • Added peace of mind
  • Less risk of unplanned admission into Hospital
  • Greater freedom to get on with everyday life
  • Less anxiety for family and friends

Case Study

Jane, like 50% of people with disabilities, also has epilepsy which resulted in her having several seizures during the night. Jane’s mum, Carol used to sleep in the same room as her daughter so she could check throughout the night to see if Jane was ok. This meant Carol had not had a good night’s sleep in years, as she was worried about what would happen if she slept through Jane having a seizure.

Solution: An epilepsy sensor, which raises an alert when she has a seizure was fitted to Jane’s bed. This let Mum return to her own room, as a pillow alert was placed under her pillow which linked to her daughter’s epilepsy sensor. This vibrates to wake Carol up when Jane has a seizure so that she can help.

Outcome: Carol is able to have a restful sleep knowing that she will be woken only if there is a problem and no longer feels constantly tired. At the same time Jane has now got increased privacy as she no longer has to share her bedroom with her Mum.

 

How Telecare can help family and friends

Telecare can give you and the person you care for independence and peace of mind.

Here are some practical ways Telecare helps full-time carers.

  • 2-way intercom systems can let you speak to the person you care for, even when they're in a different room.
  • Pagers will notify you if a Telecare sensor is activated, which means you can safely go out while the person you care for stays indoors.
  • If you’re worried the person you care for could fall in the night, bed sensors will alert you if they get out of bed and don’t return within a set period of time.

Telecare in Wiltshire

Wiltshire Council provides Telecare services alongside other packages of care and support, working with the following organisations. The Telecare service is managed by Medequip. They arrange for the equipment to be installed by Aster Living, who are specialists in setting up Telecare. Your Telecare system is then monitored by Medvivo, who provide the initial response to any alerts.

If you have already been in contact with Adult Social Care and they have recommended Telecare then it may be part of an Initial Support Package which can be for up to 6 weeks. After this initial period, the Telecare equipment will either:

  • continue to be provided by Wiltshire Council, following an eligibility assessment
  • remain in your home and you pay the weekly charge
  • be removed and taken away

This will be discussed with you prior to the end of your initial support.

How much will it cost?

Anyone with a disability who has a Care Assessment could also be assessed to see how Assistive Technology could be part of their support package. Sometimes you may have to pay a contribution towards this. If you think that you would like to use Assistive Technology, you should contact your care manager who will assess your needs and let you know whether the equipment you need can be paid for through your care package. Contact the number at the bottom of this factsheet for more information.

 

Telecare can be purchased from other companies

If you want more information on Telecare equipment and how it may be of help to you, please call:

0300 456 0111

Useful Information and Links

NHS telecare information

AgeUK Telecare information