Telecare: it’s not just about the kit (UK)

The headline of this item by PA Consulting is true. However, there are many points in the accompanying article that one might want to take issue with. Not the least of which is holding up one of their clients, Hampshire County Council, as a good example. However, I (editor Steve) shall leave it to you, dear readers, to take the rest of it apart. Telecare: it’s not just about the kit.

3 thoughts on “Telecare: it’s not just about the kit (UK)

  1. There seems to be a real danger that all the big consultancy firms are going to march into the telecare space to offer advice on how to transform services – and many of them are already jostling to be part of that service that they have proposed. They may well begin by taking the low hanging fruits from the shire counties of the south, and those unitaries that were still throwing their older people into care homes as soon as the family suggested it – but they will face a far more difficult challenge when they are faced with councils from the North and from the Midlands (not to mention Scotland) where they not only avoid residential care through good service design but also operate high quality telecare services.

    I wonder when PA Consultants and similar groups cotton on to the fact that Tunstall only told them half the story about service delivery and that telecare success also means meeting much higher service specifications in the future, including selection from a much wider range of equipment than can be offered by a single company so that service user get choice and personalisation. Strangely enough, the extended range of equipment also works out far less expensive which will also reduce delivery costs.

    Of course, this wont stop these telecare beginners for thinking up a number for the savings, doubling it and then doubling it again – before presenting it to the naive Director of Social Care who probably isn’t aware of the fact that the best academics in the land have spent the past 18 months trying to work out these same savings after an evaluation process that cost millions of pounds!

  2. ‘Meanwhile, professionals debate whether hands-on personal care, when non-essential, increases dependency and can hasten the need for residential care.’

    A very curious quote. If someone is assessed as needing ‘hands on personal care’ then that is what they need. If no service is required and you put Telecare in then that is a cost for the Telecare; not a saving at that point. The saving will hopefully come from the future by delaying the point in time when people may have required care but by intervening early this has been put back.

    Those that don’t need it don’t get it. Those that do need it are at a substantial or critical point in their level of need; so, if you can wash yourself, nobody will do it for you in this time of ‘no-money’.

    Of course it creates dependency because if ‘you don’t use it you lose it’.

    I hope Hants and Wilts didn’t pay too much out for this type of ‘advice’ and if that is the typical content of their business cases then they are failing their people.

  3. [quote]driving a cultural shift so that care workers think of telecare as a default prescription, to be deployed unless there is a clear contra-indication[/quote]

    Achieving that shift would be a shameful waste of effort … that fits the ‘tick-box assessment’ approach but overlooks the basic fact that it is very rare for telecare to solve the problem alone.

    The cultural shift that is surely needed is for professionals to consider telecare as a potential part of an holistic approach in EVERY assessment, knowing when it is beneficial and being honest about when it may not be so. Not following a tick chart but thinking about the person and their needs and encouraging the person to set down their outcomes?

    Giving a person passive alerts at home but not considering, say, falls prevention (and mobile technology for speedy detection) when they venture across their threshold is not enabling their continued independent living in their community it is cocooning them in their house. Plus unless they choose to attend a telecare convention it likely needs a non telecare bit to provide a purpose to going out, perhaps going shopping and chatting with people in the process?

    Telecare in isolation does not quite tick the “improved citizen outcome” box. Combined with other factors it can very much do so.

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