A new report published by FACE Recording & Measuring Systems, shows how deployment of telecare by English councils could achieve substantial savings for councils in the provision of social care for older people.
The report, ‘Investing to Save: Assessing the Cost-effectiveness of Telecare', details the results from a research project conducted by FACE. The results show that a widespread, targeted use of telecare could create potential savings of between £3m - £7.8m for a typical council, equating to 7.4% - 19.4% of the total older peoples' social care budget for an average council.
On average, there are 38,500 people over the age of 65 in a council serving a typical population of 250,000. These councils have an estimated social care budget of £40m, with over £14m (35%) of this spent on residential care provision. According to the report's findings, the average weekly cost of telecare provision to meet each service user's needs where recommended was £6.25, in comparison to an average weekly pre-telecare package cost of £167.
Paul Clifford, managing director of FACE said:
In addition to further confirming the savings realisable through telecare, the major benefit of this report is that it shows there is a straight forward method of moving from accurate assessment of a relatively small set of individuals to robust prediction of the impact of telecare on a larger population. Moreover, the ability to monitor the extent to which those savings are being realised, based on routine practice, is a major leap forward.
The report recommends that councils should actively promote the provision of telecare as a ‘mainstream' activity, and should make local estimates of savings realisable through telecare. Councils should look to include standard methods of assessment and training in the applicability of telecare within their re-ablement and personalisation processes, and introduce a regular outcomes-monitoring system to ensure that savings are realised in the most cost-efficient manner.
Peter Hay, Strategic Director for Adults and Communities at Birmingham City Council, and President of the Association Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said:
This report not only confirms that the enormous benefits of telecare are maximised by mainstreaming, it also provides a practical tool for councils to scope the potential in their individual locality. This will prove invaluable for authorities, enabling them to analyse the effectiveness of telecare in their communities, and helping them to ensure that savings are realised in the most cost-efficient manner.
The project, which was supported by an educational grant from Tunstall, involved a sample group of 50 residents who completed the FACE overview assessment process. Of the 36 females and 14 males assessed, most of which had more than one long-term condition or disability, 33 were identified as being able to benefit from telecare (66%).
According to Tunstall, the methods developed in the FACE study provide the basis for councils to undertake local estimates of the financial savings realisable through the introduction of telecare. The use of standard assessments and the methodology developed in the report provides the basis for a routine system of outcomes monitoring and savings projection for councils that wish to maximise savings through telecare.
Simon Arnold, Managing Director, Tunstall said:
The results show the substantial savings that are achievable through the widespread, targeted use of telecare. Telecare is about giving service users greater control of their lives and enabling them to make the choices they wish to make, and this goes hand-in-hand with the aims of both re-ablement and personalisation.
To fully realise its benefits, telecare has to become an integral part of these practices, rather than being perceived as separate initiative. The provision of telecare is a win-win solution for both councils and service users, reducing costs and improving quality of life.
FACE assessment tools are nationally accredited by the Department of Health and used throughout the UK and Ireland by NHS, social care and independent sector organisations. Over 50% of councils in England use FACE assessments for community care assessment and the FACE RAS provides indicative budgets to over 20% of the population served by English councils.
The FACE report is available from www.face.eu.com, together with a range of supporting material for councils including a telecare audit; an assessment tool to release the benefits of telecare; FACE telecare tools; and a monitoring system for evaluating telecare programme benefits.