Essex Makes Telecare Free to Over 85s
Telecare equipment is to be offered to 33,000 Essex residents aged 85 and over to support independence and improve quality of life
[UKPRwire, Wed Jul 15 2009] Essex County Council has made a pledge to offer telecare services to the over 85s in its area free of charge, enabling them to live safely and independently in their own homes.
The council is investing £4 million in telecare systems and support, which will be available to new applicants for telecare who are over 85, as part of the council’s vision to deliver the best quality of life in Britain.
Lord Hanningfield, Leader of Essex County Council said: “The challenges of serving an ageing population are well documented - the cost of delivering Adult Social Care has soared over the last 10 years. This Council believes in ensuring that our most vulnerable customers enjoy the best possible quality of life by continuing our policy of empowering people to make their own choices, stay independent and, if they choose, remain living in their own homes for as long as possible.
“Our policy has two major benefits as firstly, our customers have spoken of the huge impact that telecare has had on their quality of life. Secondly, it is also cost efficient – by enabling customers to stay in their own homes saves public money that can be reinvested in other important front line services.”
Councillor Finch, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Community Wellbeing added: “Essex has some daunting demographics, with many people living alone. Therefore our strategy had to be fit for the future and we had to find creative solutions for individuals that promote independence. We knew we should continue to use technology to do what it is good at and that will free up people to do what they are good at. We also needed a cultural shift from ‘Find and Fix’ to ‘Predict and Prevent’.
“Telecare meets these challenges and we chose Tunstall because we needed a partner, not a supplier. A company who, of course, had the full range of products but also offered end-to-end support and the experience to prove a large scale mainstreamed service could be achieved.”
Essex County Council’s investment into telecare reflects the Government’s commitment to provide health and social care services closer to people’s homes, and to deliver more personalised care within the community setting.
All systems include a base unit and wireless pendant as standard that alert trained operators at the 24 hour monitoring centres, known as Carelines, to any problems. Solutions such as carbon monoxide, fall and smoke detectors are also available to users as well as clock calendars and bogus caller buttons according to need.
Essex County Council currently uses intelligent telecare solutions from Tunstall Healthcare which are linked 24 hrs a day to the 9 Carelines in Essex to support an estimated 8,000 people in their own homes and help to improve their quality of life.
The council’s Telecare Smart House demonstrates how technology can be used to manage risk, support well-being and promote independence for older people and those with long-term conditions such as COPD, removing the need for costly residential care and enabling early supported discharge from hospital. An evaluation of 240 telecare users in Essex demonstrated significant cost benefits, with savings of £3.58 made for every £1 invested into telecare
Jon Lowe, Managing Director at Tunstall Healthcare said: “Telecare is as much about the philosophy of dignity and independence as it is about equipment and services. Essex’s forward-looking vision of health and social care delivery reflects the national drive for more preventative, community-based care to meet the demands of our ageing population.”
Telecare is not only unobtrusive, it ensures timely and preventative care when needed, raising an alert to a monitoring centre, which provides 24-hour support. This enables people to stay safe at home, and helps prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital or long-term institutional care, as well as reducing some of the burden on the emergency, carers and secondary services.
In the case of one 82 year-old Essex resident, telecare has enabled him to effectively manage spinal and heart challenges and the risk of falls. He now has the base unit and pendant to alert the monitoring centre should his condition deteriorate or his environment change and he needs assistance, allowing him to remain living independently.
To find out more about the telecare services in Essex, visit the council’s website at www.essex.gov.uk/telecare or call 0845 603 7630.