New, independent telecare service (UK) October 20, 2011 | by Steve Hards | 12 CommentsCategories: Latest News. Great to see newcomers to the market being launched to sell telecare directly to the public in the UK: We Care Line.
Nice to see a new player in this market but I am rather concerned that they choose to put some unsubstantiated “research” evidence on their home page. This sounds like we are back to scare tactics for older people!
I guess that they are not Code of Practice accedited yet – so they may struggle to gain credibility and to demonstrate quality in a very crowded marketplace.
@Jo, Thank you very much for your comment. Please see the reference:
Prospective cohort study in people over 90; by Jane Fleming, Carol Brayne, Cambridge City over-75s Cohort (CC75C).
British Medical Journal, vol 337, no 7681, 29 November 2008, pp 1279-1282.
Also the front page was put to three different focus groups attended by 18 people (age 65+) to ensure there is nothing in the text that is far from reality. However, I’ll take you feedback on board.
The team involved, including myself, have the experience of developing and running one of the most successful telecare services in the UK between March 2009 and Feb.2011 – praised specifically by CQC in 2010 for the use of assistive technology in supporting older people live independently (Buckinghamshire).
Yes, it is a very crowded market but we are an ageing society. Moreover, we believe there is always room for those who believe in quality and endeavour to deliver a high quality service.
@ Hossein – Thank you for responding so quickly. I’m familiar with the Cambridge study (http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a2227.full) and am sure that it provides appropriate evidence for people aged over 90 (and including those who live in residential or nursing homes). My experience is that they are not representative of the target audience of people who benefit from telecare (or community alarms) as a preventive measure – hence my concern about using “dodgy” stats.
Nevertheless, I wish you well and hope that you share with the industry some of the secrets of your success, so that more vulnerable people will choose the telecare solution.
Hi Jo, maybe it’s the lack of ‘scare’ that’s holding back the market? After all, if people can’t relate to the fear of being trapped at home without help, an important driver for uptake is missing. (Ref my ‘Nightmare’ Soapbox!)
The need for us to use more technology rather than people to support older and vulnerable people has now become so acute that we might have to accept some primitive marketing tactics if we are to have the necessary impact. The challenge is surely to find both a compelling intellectual argument (perhaps based on cost and outcomes) and a form of words that, perhaps illogically, will convince a skeptic that the introduction of telecare will be a win-win-win-win result whichever way it is considered.
Organisations such as We Care Line are obviously succeeding with the first step of getting people to choose to have telecare. The next targets will involve convincing the public that people really don’t need to go to hospital following an accident, and that it is safe (and preferable) to receive care and attention in the home. This will allow complete hospital wards to be closed and, eventually, hospitals to shut their doors too because people will be treated better at home protected by their electronic sensors.
Will it be politicians who eventually admit this to the electorate or will they expect telecare providers to do the hard work?
Good points from Kevin, as always!
1) The setting of the study was community, sheltered housing and residential care. And it does compare lying on the floor after a fall between these three categories: “This overall 35% (50/143), which includes relatively few cases of a long time lying on the floor in care homes, is far lower than the high prevalence in such situations among residents in sheltered housing (44-49% excluding or including lying on floor for unknown time) and participants living in the community (42-56%)”. Yes, they looked at fall when all participants were over 90 but they were all recruited into the study in 1985 when they were over 75. We shouldn’t forget that for many people in their 90s it still difficult to come to terms with using pendants. Also those in residential care may still benefit from other forms of assistive technology.
2) We did actually spoke to a lot of colleagues from local authorities across the country. I did a presentation to a group of South East lead commissioners in September 2010 organized by DoH. I’m afraid some in the industry didn’t like to hear us. The first thing which we did stop buying and storing equipment then either overloading service users with unnecessary devices or leaving them dust in warehouse! Second thing was to consider pendant as the best piece of equipment among all telecare sensors. It can work perfectly for majority of service users. You only need to put other measures in place such as a good response, timely access to the property and educating the service user to always wear their pendant etc. Other sensors are good for reassurance and those who are carefully assessed.
3) For those who are interested in innovation in Telecare it is worth looking at some of the initiatives that we piloted in Buckinghamshire. For example, telecare-based speech therapy that is currently happening at Buckinghamshire Hospital Trust for stroke sufferers. Or a Buddi Scheme that is managed by Carers Bucks. We developed that project through working with a group of carers. Through that project families who go on holiday with a member with dementia barrow a unit for the duration of their holiday.
4) If you have a forum I’m more than happy to share my experience with you and you colleagues. You can contact us through our site. Alternatively you can obtain my personal email from Telecare Aware. I give Steve permission to kindly share it with you.
5) I believe your initial comment was useful. And we will use it to improve the content. I doubt our visitors would make a decision to purchase our service based on those bullet-points. Those who visit the site would have probably made a decision to obtain it from us or someone else. So we will leave no room for misunderstanding. Thanks again.
6) Also thank you both Steve and Kevin for contributing to the discussion.
I worked with Hossein when he was setting up the successful Telecare servce he refers to in his response to Jo. Hossein has great integrity and works to the highest standards and I have no doubt his new venture will succeed.
Good to hear about the new initiatives. Is the stroke work published, and can it be shared?
CUHTec have regular regional forums for commissioner and service provider members. These are good opportunities for sharing good practice and to hear about innovations that work.
I believe that the industry needs to work together to ensure that the potential of telecare is recognised and fully embraced by both the public and by relevant professionals.
thanks Brian! Very kind of you!
Kevin, it’s not been published. The project was developed last year and piloted end of March 2011. 11 touch screen handheld computers equipped with speech therapy applications are given to aphasia patients so they can practice their speech with the help of carers. Progress is monitored remotely by speech therapists and sessions can be adjusted remotely. apparently there is a waiting list for the service now!
I’ll pass your details to the person who is currently managing it. I think one of my staff attended one of your forums last year.
I agree with you re working together – the potential is endless
One reason that your stroke project interests me is that it is radically different to other forms of telecare intervention – and probably a good example of how telecare services must adapt to the needs of the market-place.
Wearing my JAT editor hat, I’d like to see the work refereed and published, while wearing my CUHTec hat, I’d like to see you join us as members
Kevin, I will be in touch with you soon.
thanks for your attention.