Your health, your way

Your NHS guide to long-term conditions and self care

Telecare and telehealth technology

All about telecare services available on the NHS and privately, and how they can help people with long-term conditions to live independently in their own home

Telecare and telehealth services use technology to help you live more independently at home. They include personal alarms and health-monitoring devices.

Telecare and telehealth services are especially helpful for people
with long-term conditions, as they can give you and your relatives peace of mind that you're safe in your own home and that your health is stable, without you having to make regular visits to your doctor’s surgery. They can also help you live independently in your own home for longer, so you can avoid a hospital stay or put off moving into a residential care home.

So, what kind of services are available?

Telecare

Different alarm systems are available for your home, some of which can let a family member, friend, neighbour, nurse or warden (if you're in sheltered housing) know by phone when there's something wrong. These include:

  • A personal alarm, where you raise the alert by pressing a button that you keep on you at all times. Usually it's on a small wristband or a pendant that you wear around your neck.
  • Motion sensors, which make accidents and falls less likely by automatically switching on your bathroom or hallway lights at night when you get out of bed.

Other sensors can raise the alarm that something is wrong, such as a pressure mat on your mattress that can tell if you've not made it back into bed, or a sensor on a door that senses if it's open or closed. Then, if you have a fall, or you haven't got back into bed after going to the toilet in the night, or you've forgotten to close the outside door, the sensor raises the alarm.

Telehealth

There’s also special telehealth equipment to monitor your health in your own home. It can be equipment to measure your blood pressure, blood glucose levels or your weight. This can reduce the number of visits you make to your GP and unplanned visits to the hospital. You’re taught how to do the tests on yourself and the measurements are automatically transmitted to your doctor or nurse, who can then see the information without you having to leave home. They can let you know if they have any concerns. 

How to get telecare and telehealth services in your area

Telehealth and telecare can support your independence and wellbeing, letting you manage your long-term condition better.

There is a patient information leaflet (PDF, 805Kb) with information about how telehealth and telecare equipment can help you take more control over your condition and explore the self care choices that are right for you. You can order a hard copy by calling 0300 123 1002 and quoting 2900546/telehealth-telecare.

For more information about telehealth and telecare services, visit 3millionlives. Ask your GP, social worker or local authority for more information on telecare and telehealth.

Page last reviewed: 02/11/2012

Next review due: 02/11/2014

Comments

The 3 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

thomasruss4 said on 21 January 2013

This makes sense if and only if the bulk of the workload is taken on by cheap and cheerful sources .... not mega expensive over trained specialists, GPs and staff nurses.

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comm8 said on 08 August 2012

Similar to last comment I also had to get a careline alarm for a relative. I searched on the internet as well, theres lots of providers. I chose Telecare24 as they offered a full installation and demo for my mother which was ideal as I didnt live near her. She has had to use the alarm a few times as she tends to fall over now and again. She said they answered really quickly and got the emergency services out to her on one occassion. Thankfully they just got her back on her feet and didnt need to go to hospital. As I live some distance away this service puts my mind at rest. Oh and I would suggest a keysafe as it means the emergency services never have to break the door down!

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StewSmith said on 07 August 2012

I had to purchase one for my father in law who suffers from Parkinsons and Dementia.There are lots of telecare or careline services available on the internet as well as lots of local authorities. After requesting information from a few suppliers such as SAGA and Age Concern, I eventually ordered one.

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