What is Tele-care ?
Most of us are familiar with the emergency call bell systems for the elderly but as technology advances so does the innovation to help people remain safe and independent.
Tele-care and tele-health services are especially helpful for the elderly with long-term conditions. They provide peace of mind to relatives in as much as user is closely monitored. The tele-health avoids the need for regular visits to the doctor’s surgery which becomes such a chore for so many elderly people. This technology may also avoid the need for hospital stays or a move to residential care.
So what is Tele-care and what services are available ?
Different types of alarms are available for the home, some of which notify a relative, friend or neighbour by phone if there is a problem .
- There is the personal alarm where the user raises the alert by pressing a button on a small wristband or a pendant. This needs to be worn around at all times. Many elderly people leave them hanging somewhere in the home and forget to put it on !
- There are also motion sensors which turn on lights at night and reduce the risk of a fall when elderly person gets up.
There are other sensors that can raise the alarm that something is wrong. Pressure mats on a mattress sense tell if a person has not returned to bed and door sensors detect if they have been left open or closed.
If an elderly person falls then the sensor will raise the alarm.
Some may say this is a little “Big Brotheri-sh” but I think anything that helps an elderly person stay safe and may prevent falls is an excellent idea.
Special tele-health equipment is also available to monitor an elderly persons health at home. Such equipment include blood pressure, blood glucose levels or weight monitors and these reduce the number of visits to the GP.
Service users are taught how to do the tests and the measurements are automatically sent to their health professionals who see the data and contact the user only if they have concerns.
To find out what tele-care/tele-health services may be available for an elderly relative or friend contact their GP,social worker or local authority.
Alternatively call 0300 123 1002 and quote 2900546/tele-health-tele-care to obtain a patient information leaflet. This is also available as a PDF
Another source of information is 3millionlives