All about telecare services available on the NHS and privately, and how they can help people with long-term conditions to live independently in their own home
Telecare and telehealth services use technology to help you live more independently at home. They include personal alarms and health-monitoring devices.
Telecare and telehealth 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 and that your health is stable, without you having to make regular visits to your doctor’s surgery. They can also help you live independently in your own home for longer, so you can avoid a hospital stay or put off moving into a residential care home.
So, what kind of services 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.
How to get telecare and telehealth services in your area
Telehealth and telecare can support your independence and wellbeing, letting you manage your long-term condition better.
There is a patient information leaflet with information about how telehealth and telecare equipment can help you take more control over your condition and explore the self care choices that are right for you. You can order a hard copy by calling 0300 123 1002 and quoting 2900546/telehealth-telecare.
For more information about telehealth and telecare services, visit 3millionlives. Ask your GP, social worker or local authority for more information on telecare and telehealth.