Headlines: March 2nd, 2009

Counsel and Care has called on the Government to increase investment in new technology to help more older people live in their home with safety and security. It claims that for every pound spent on telecare, five pounds could be saved on expensive hospital and residential care. Current funding for telecare in England amounts to an 80 million pound preventative technology grant to local authorities from 2006-2009.

The claim by the charity is based on research in Scotland, independently evaluated by York University, showing that telecare in people’s homes can reduce the number of days needed in hospital stays and delay entry to residential care as well as saving on home checks and visits. The savings add up to five pounds for every one pound invested in installing a range of electronic communications equipment in older people’s homes.

Research also revealed evidence from local authorities and primary care trusts in England which shows how telecare is helping transform care for older people while saving resources that can be re-invested in care and support for the ageing population.

The Scottish experience shows that investment needs to be sustained over a longer period and mainstreamed by local authorities to transform health and social care for older people and their carers. Until that happens, the potential of telecare will remain unfulfilled.

Stephen Burke, Chief Executive of Counsel and Care, said: “Helping older people live longer in their own home and improving safety and security are key aims. If by using telecare, we can make this happen and make better use of public funding, then it’s a win win for everyone. But we need to ensure that future investment in telecare is substantial and well planned across the country.”