Comprehensive telecare service will benefit up to 4,000 older and vulnerable people over the next 12 months.
Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) has invested in a countywide telecare service from Tunstall Healthcare, to support existing and future users of homecare services within the region. Developed in partnership with international service company Serco, the pioneering new service is expected to benefit up to 4,000 people in its first year.
HCC currently provides homecare services to 5,500 adults. However, the demand for such services is increasing dramatically, with the number of people in the county aged over 65 expected to increase by over 50% in the next 20 years. In North Hertfordshire alone, one in four people will be 65 or older by 2030 and it is estimated that the county’s care costs could double by 2026.
The Council wanted to introduce a solution that could help to support older and vulnerable people in their own homes, facilitating earlier interventions and reducing unnecessary admissions to hospitals or residential care. The new scheme will provide a comprehensive telecare service for existing users of homecare services, and enable service delivery to be extended to individuals who are likely to require social care services in the short to medium term. Eligible older and vulnerable people will be assessed and offered the scheme by care professionals.
As part of the Hertfordshire Telecare Service, individuals are provided with a personal alarm and a range of sensors that unobtrusively monitor their home environment. A 24/7 response service, supported by the British Red Cross, is also central to the scheme. When an alarm is raised, trained Tunstall operators are on hand to talk to individuals to establish the most appropriate method as assistance, be it contacting a family member, carer, doctor, emergency service or local response unit.
Cllr Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care, commented:
The Council has developed an innovative approach to deal with an ageing population on one hand and ever-tighter budgets on the other. By harnessing technology effectively, we can offer peace-of-mind to more people and their carers while working within the Council’s financial constraints.
David Cockayne, Managed Services Director at Tunstall Healthcare said:
Telecare delivers very significant improvements in the way people with health and care needs are supported, enhancing their independence and well-being while achieving significant efficiencies. Hertfordshire County Council is at the forefront of care delivery, and their service demonstrates how local authorities are innovating in partnership to accelerate service redesign to benefit service users and their families.