Extending telecare services to more people could save Scotland’s care providers £1.1 billion by the end of the decade, new analysis has found.
Economic modelling from digital connectivity consultancy FarrPoint estimates that encouraging more over-75s to use personal alarm and security systems could result in benefits of £14.5bn across the UK.
It also found that there are currently two million people using telecare services in the UK, but an additional 800,000 could benefit from access to technology-enabled care across the country.
This figure is expected to rise to nearly one million people over the next decade, which experts say will result in further strain to the already challenged care sector unless action is taken by care providers to increase uptake of telecare services.
With the UK’s elderly population set to increase by a quarter by 2030, care providers responsible for technology enabled care services are being urged to ensure the benefits of telecare are understood and promoted further in a bid to drive service up take.
Matthew Izatt-Lowry, senior economist at FarrPoint, said: “These numbers make for sobering reading for health and social care departments up and down the country. As a nation, we’re facing huge demographic changes, and by 2030 there is expected to be more than 7.3 million people aged over 75 in the UK.
“This will place even more pressure on the public purse and on the social care system in the UK which is already more stretched that ever before. Care providers must act now to help avoid the looming care crisis, and consider how technology can help the sector cope with increasing demand.”
Telecare services offer remote care for citizens, typically elderly people and those who are physically less able, providing reassurance and allowing them to live independently via various assistive technologies.
These are typically a pendant and lifeline alarm unit, where the call is transmitted to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), with more enhanced ‘packages’ of care including devices such as door, bed and automatic fall sensors used to ensure safety at home.
The benefits of telecare services can be offered across the social care system, including delaying residential care admission, improving social inclusion, wellbeing and community resilience, alleviating bed blocking and hospital admissions, all of which factor into the cost savings the UK could expect to receive by increasing uptake.
The Scottish telecare market is currently undergoing a transformation with analogue based home alarm services due to be switched off by 2025.
Digital solutions will become the norm, and it is envisaged that a high number of future services will be deployed with additive internet of things based technologies that rely on sensors to generate various home care alerts around air quality levels, damp and energy efficiencies as well as more intervention based services including monitoring of falls.