Telecare is a system that uses a range of sensors to help you to live at home, if you are vulnerable and need support.
The sensors are matched to your individual needs and can be linked to a lifeline - a kind of telephone - that is used to summon help if needed. Using telecare enables you to live safely and securely at home, supporting you and your family when living with any care or health issues.
You do not need any special equipment to use telecare. All you need is a working telephone line with the modern telephone socket and an electric power socket. All the specific telecare equipment is provided and fitted for you.
Telecare can, for example, be used to:
- Detect if you have suffered a fall;
- Alert your carer if you've been incontinent;
- Alert a carer if the cared for person gets out of bed in the night or if they leave the property unexpectedly;
- Indicate an extreme of temperature, for example if a room is too hot;
- Alert you to a sink or bath overflowing;
- Maintain an open line to a call centre for you in an emergency;
- Request a visit from response or backup services, from your carer for example; and
- Call the emergency services if necessary.
Telecare is available to people living in their own homes as well as people living in some residential homes and extra care housing schemes. If you would like more information about using telecare, please contact us. There is a small weekly charge for using telecare, depending on your circumstances. You may be able to apply for a subsidy to help with this. Your circumstances will be established through a financial assessment.
For an introduction to telecare and the support it can provide, see the video below.
Frequently asked questions
Telecare can work in two ways. It can provide assistance by alerting you to certain situations, reminding you to take medication for example. It can also alert family, friends, carers or the emergency services to dangerous situations, if you suffered a fall for example.
Telecare can support you with things you might find difficult, for example:
- answering your door; or
- remembering to take medication
Telecare can sense and react to situations using:
- detectors for gas; and
- panic buttons and pendants
Telecare can also manage dangerous situations, such as:
- periods on the floor due to falls;
- detecting floods from overflowing taps;
- epileptic fits; or
- to notify someone if you or your loved one has left their home at an inappropriate time of the day, such as during the early hours of the morning, thereby putting themselves at risk
If telecare senses a problem then it will send a signal to the lifeline where an alarm can be raised 24-hours a day. You could use a specialist centre where trained operators, who can speak to you over a loudspeaker on the lifeline, will have your details and know who to call in an emergency. This could be family, friends, carers or the emergency services. Alternatively, you could choose to have calls made directly to your chosen emergency contact.
Summary of the telecare alert process
- You press the lifeline button or the sensor raises an alert
- The lifeline unit is activated and alerts the call centre via the telephone line
- The call centre answers your call and talks to you through the lifeline
- A response is arranged appropriate to your agreed needs
Various pieces of equipment can be used in the telecare system, to help and support you.
Some of the types of equipment which might be used are:
- A flood detector can identify if a bath or sink has overflowed;
- A fall detector can tell if you have had a fall and can summon help quickly;
- A gas detector can alert you to a gas leak or if your cooker has been left on. It can also work with an automatic shut off valve to prevent further release of gas;
- A temperature monitor can tell if a cooker has been left on;
- An intruder sensor can help make you more secure;
- A smoke detector can raise the alarm in case of fire;
- A bed occupancy sensor can tell if you have unexpectedly not returned to your bed;
- A chair occupancy sensor can tell if you have unexpectedly not returned to your chair; and
- An epilepsy sensor can detect of you suffer a fit and can summon help.
We will be able to explain how these work in more detail when we visit you.
Telehealth is the use of equipment which can remotely monitor your blood pressure, oxygen levels, weight and glucose levels. Telehealth can reduce avoidable hospital admissions and can enable you to be discharged from hospital earlier.
It also encourages you to play a role in actively managing your own conditions, rather than being a passive recipient of care. Above all, it assists you to remain in your own home and maintain your independence within your own home. Telehealth is particularly helpful for people with chronic and long-term conditions. You can monitor your own data; this information is then transmitted to a medical centre, where it is interpreted by a health worker. Action can be taken swiftly if the information indicates that there may be a problem. Telehealth is a provision potentially available through the NHS.
View three video case studies featuring people who have benefited from using telecare.
After a bad fall, Eileen was hospitalised with a fractured ankle and knee. Assessed as 'at high risk of falls', she resisted the idea of residential care. Instead, with Telecare, she now lives independently in her own ground floor flat.
Helen is 30 and has learning difficulties. For the first time in her life, she's living independently in her own house. Telecare has given Helen the choice and opportunity she's always wanted. Lynne is Helen's main carer.
A severe road accident left Hayley with head injuries, learning difficulties and physical problems. She lives at home with her parents and younger brother in a specially built flat. Telecare gives Hayley safety, security and the independence she wants.
View short video clips that help explain telecare, how it benefits people and how organisations can make use of the service.
Making a difference with telecare - my life, my choice
A video clip about what telecare is and how it can help people. The film features real stories about people using telecare to maintain their independence. It also explains how local authorities and care organisations can benefit from telecare.
Making a difference with telecare - the organisational challenge
This video clip explains how telecare can be used to meet the needs of different people and highlights some of the challenges organisations face in making use of telecare.