An innovative Council programme will see upwards of a £1.5 million invested to transform telecare services for thousands of residents in Wirral over the next few years.
Telecare is care and support provided to people remotely for example, through phone services or safety alarms that enable people to call for help if they need it. Currently, more than 3,500 Wirral residents have been assessed as eligible for the borough’s telecare offer.
A new pilot scheme will see the Council introduce next generation telecare services – shifting the focus from reacting to crisis events (such as accidents or falls), to preventing them. The pilot will be delivered alongside Wirral’s commissioned community equipment and telecare provider, Medequip, and care technology specialists, Alcuris.
Wirral Council is one of the UK’s first local authorities to transfer residents from analogue telecare systems to new next generation services at this scale. The digital system will create opportunities for early, preventative interventions and reduce hospital admissions. New devices that can detect signs of health deterioration, such as smart plugs and movement sensors, will be introduced from November this year.
Recognising the signs of someone becoming unwell or noticing a change in habits that may indicate a problem, enables families and services to intervene and prevent small issues from becoming big problems.
Graham Hodkinson, Director of Adults, Health and Strategic Commissioning for Wirral Council, said, “The shift to digital technology presents us with valuable opportunities to reduce hospital admissions for these residents, benefitting thousands of family networks. Adapting to new ways of working will help us to keep people safe and well, while retaining their independence by enabling them to live in their own homes for longer.
“We have great confidence in this project, working alongside Medequip and Alcuris, to test a new approach to telecare which, can be rolled out to benefit residents across the borough.”
Informal carers and families will be able to access new tools to support family members they care for remotely. These tools can provide positive reassurance when all is well and alerts when things change, or help is needed.
How will the devices support residents?
- Movement sensors, placed within the home, will enable family members and support services to detect activity and ensure the safety and wellbeing of people.
- Smart plugs will help to indicate whether devices like microwaves and kettles are being used to ensure that vulnerable people are eating and drinking.
No camera technology or imaging will be used as part of the scheme. People will continue to live completely privately, just with the additional security that if something goes wrong, family members or services will be alerted and can respond quickly.
David Griffiths, Managing Director at Medequip Assistive Technology Ltd., said, “We are pleased to build on our long relationship with Wirral Council and to welcome Alcuris into the Medequip Connect Digital Partnership.
“The real value from digital services comes not just from digitising existing support but from the opportunity to redesign care provision, underpinned by digital technology, to meet current and future challenges.”
As part of the transformation, Wirral Council is developing greater partnership working between the digital telecare service, social care, and health care services.
Alex Nash, founder and CEO of Alcuris said, “We are thrilled to be part of this transformation at scale by Wirral Council and their partner Medequip Connect. We are pleased to be setting the standard in a digital care system that connects people, data and services and enables intelligent care decisions at the speed of life.”