The Department of Health defines Telecare as: Personal and environmental sensors in the home that enable people to remain safe and independent in their own home for longer. 24 hour monitoring ensures that, should an event occur, the information is acted upon immediately and the most appropriate response put in train.
How Telecare can help you
Telecare offers individuals, their families and carers, security and peace of mind, through services that enable people to stay independent in their own home for as long as possible. One of the simplest forms of telecare is a personal alarm. This alarm consists of a button- often in the form of a pendant worn around the neck, or on the wrist, and a base unit that works with your telephone system. Your base unit will receive a signal from your personal alarm and will be linked to a monitoring centre. When you push your alarm button, your call will go via your telephone line to the monitoring centre, which is staffed by trained operators who will answer your alarm call on any day of the year, 24 hours a day. Many centres (135 across the UK) are now accredited to the national Telecare Services Association (TSA) Telecare Code of Practice, which includes stringent standards for call handling. The base unit is a two way device, enabling you to talk to the staff the monitoring centre, and for them to talk to you. If your alarm button is pressed, the first thing the monitoring centre will do is to call you right back, and try to speak to you. The staff at the monitoring centres are trained to quickly assess the problem and organise the most appropriate assistance for you. If it’s a false alarm don’t worry, they will be glad to hear that all is well.
Telecare therefore combines monitoring equipment with a monitoring service, and is most frequently used in the home. A telecare user may activate their own alarm if they use a pendant. For those individuals who need more specialist help to remain in their own home, passive monitoring equipment is available. This enhanced form of telecare enables usual behaviour patterns to be monitored, and for changes outside of normal behavioural patterns (for example not getting out of bed at the usual time or leaving the house late at night) to instigate an appropriate action. Telecare monitoring covers a wide range of needs, and is intended to support people and enable them to continue living in their own home, independently or with the assistance of carers, for as long as possible. It also supports carers and families by providing additional help and support with caring responsibilities and all-important peace of mind.
It is because of this reassurance that there are now an estimated 1.7 million telecare users in the United Kingdom.