Telecare and telehealth services use technology to help you live more independently at home. They include personal alarms and health-monitoring devices. These services are especially helpful for people with long-term conditions, as they can give you and your relatives peace of mind that you're safe in your own home.
People usually contact a tele-care service after a problem has arisen with someone they care for. This doesn't necessarily mean that the person needs help with caring for themselves it can often just be a friendly call to check on them during the day to ensure that they have come to no harm.
These support services are a very useful way of ensuring that someone is safe during the day when their carer or family cannot be there - perhaps due to work commitments.They can also help a person remain in their own home for longer, avoiding a hospital stay or putting off moving into a residential care home.
A telephone care service provides peace of mind to all and helps:
- Service recipients to remain independent within their own homes
- Care service providers, local authorities and health services to deliver personal care at home in an effective and economical way
- Family members and care providers are able to confidently balance the delivery of care support at home and everyday life.
So what types of service are available?
Different alarm systems are available for your home, some of which can let a family member, friend, neighbour, nurse or warden (if you're in sheltered housing) know by phone when there's something wrong. These include:
- A personal alarm, where you raise the alert by pressing a button that you keep on you at all times. Usually it's on a small wristband or a pendant that you wear around your neck.
- Motion sensors, which make accidents and falls less likely by automatically switching on your bathroom or hallway lights at night when you get out of bed.
Other sensors can raise the alarm that something is wrong, such as a pressure mat on your mattress that can tell if you've not made it back into bed, or a sensor on a door that senses if it's open or closed. Then, if you have a fall, or you haven't got back into bed after going to the toilet in the night, or you've forgotten to close the outside door, the sensor raises the alarm.
There’s also special telehealth equipment to monitor your health in your own home. It can be equipment to measure your blood pressure, blood glucose levels or your weight. This can reduce the number of visits you make to your GP and unplanned visits to the hospital. You’re taught how to do the tests on yourself and the measurements are automatically transmitted to your doctor or nurse, who can then see the information without you having to leave home. They can let you know if they have any concerns.
Where to get telecare and telehealth services
Telecare and telehealth are new and may not yet be available on the NHS in your area. Ask your GP, social worker, primary care trust (PCT) or local authority for more information. You can also buy some of these telecare and telehealth products and services privately. You can also find out a lot more about Telecare and alarms by following this link to the NHS website.