The Social Impact of Telecare...

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 Whenever people hear the word 'telecare', it's likely their first thought is that it's just 'the button around your neck' - but there are some major social impacts of telecare for individuals, their families, the health service, and wider society.

1. Telecare saves lives – fact.
The results of the largest randomised controlled trial of telecare and telehealth in the world (the Whole System Demonstrator) indicate that telecare can deliver:
A 15% reduction in A&E visits
A 20% reduction in emergency admissions
A 14% reduction in elective admissions
A 14% reduction in bed days
A 45% reduction in mortality rates

2. Reduces isolation and loneliness
According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. Whatever the cause, it's shockingly easy to be left feeling alone and vulnerable, which can lead to depression and a serious decline in physical health and wellbeing. Lifeline has been described as a ‘silent carer’ in the 24 hours a day and can help reduce isolation and loneliness.

3. Increases independence

Most importantly for the user as it increases confidence and allows them to stay in their own house for as long as possible – something everyone wants. But also, for the user’s family and friends… in many cases, it’s the offspring/grandchildren of the user who organises telecare for their loved one.

4. Huge benefit to un-paid carers

Unpaid carers are the largest group of care providers in the UK. Although carers often feel positive about their role (as it is usually a loved one (parent/spouse/child), the demands of caring can have an adverse impact on carers’ health and well-being. Telecare offers an effective means of supporting carers in their caring role, freeing them from unnecessary stress and providing them with greater personal freedom.

5. Other social impacts of telecare:
• Increased peace of mind
• A better night’s sleep
• Improved relationship with carers and family
• The opportunity to continue with activities they might otherwise have to give up
• Perhaps the ability to remain in paid employment in some cases

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