Gloucestershire CC runs a project to install systems that monitor potential accidents in the homes of residents identified as being vulnerable to falls. The telecare system uses sensors placed where people are more likely to slip or trip, such as under a rug or near the bedside.
Linked to a monitoring centre via the resident’s telephone line, the sensors can detect if someone has fallen and will alert trained operators within seconds if there is a problem in the home. It can also detect floods and fires.
Potential users are identified by either their relatives, carers, GP or through a recent hospital admission. The systems are installed by a member of the specialist telecare team, who visit older people in their homes to assess their needs and explain the scheme’s advantages.
“As with anything new, people can be resistant,” says Kim Carey, director of operations and development in the community and adult care directorate. “We talk to them about how it operates and work through their concerns.”
Ms Carey says telecare is more ‘intelligent’ than other home monitoring systems because it does not rely on individuals calling for help themselves.
It also gives people the reassurance that someone is there if they need them and ensures that people will receive help quickly and are therefore less likely to require a stay in hospital. The scheme also benefits carers who no longer have to be on call 24 hours a day.
Telecare operates in 400 homes around the county and with the additional investment it has received from the primary care trust the council hopes it will be able to expand the scheme still further.
“So many people have said it has given them a new life,” Ms Carey says. “So it’s got to be worth doing.”