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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2008): Care of the elderly - UK

Accessing properties for the delivery of telecare services in an emergency

K. Doughty and K. Cameron

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 2, June 2008, p. 43-47

Rapid access to properties in an emergency is an essential requirement of telecare services. The availability of keyholders cannot be guaranteed on a 24/7 basis, and they can rarely provide access to emergency services within five or ten minutes. Alternative arrangements using key safes or electronic door access technologies are therefore essential for a quality service.

All in the mind? Reflections on developing an assistive technology/telecare service as a model for change management, creative thinking and workforce development: learning from the Norfolk experience

D. Faife

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 2, Mar. 2008, p.4-10

Telecare care is a way of bringing social care into people's own homes by using information and communication technology. It began with the development of community alarms over 20 years ago, but modern systems consist of a range of linked detectors and sensors which can send alerts to a carer or call centre. Telehealth provides remote monitoring of vital signs and allows alerts to be sent to a clinician base. Telecare can also work in a preventative mode with a range of sensors programmed to monitor ill-health and well-being, this being known as lifestyle monitoring. Using the Norfolk experience as a case study, this article shows how the introduction of a telecare system can be used to facilitate change management, workforce development and creative thinking.

Autonomy in long-term care: a need, a right or a luxury?

G. Boyle

Disability and Society, vol. 23, 2008, p. 299-310

Serious harm, in the shape of mental ill health and poor quality of life, may result when autonomy, or the exercise of some control over daily lives, is denied to older people living in long-term care. However, there is a lack of recognition in government policy that autonomy is a basic need among older people in residential care. In addition, there has been hardly any academic debate on the need for, or right to, autonomy in such settings. Feminist debate has focused on carers' needs for autonomy, and disability debate has neglected older people. The author concludes that older people in care homes need to be provided with social rights to enable them to exercise their human right of autonomy.

Dignity through change: how continence matters

P. Holmes

Working with Older People, vol.12, June 2008, p. 23-25

For many older people suffering from urinary incontinence, access to public toilets is essential if they are to lead an active life and not be trapped in their homes. Unfortunately many local authorities have closed their public toilets in recent years.

An evaluation of Lincolnshire's telecare service

A. Newton, D. Shepherd, and E. Thompson

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 2, June 2008, p. 48-51

A countywide telecare service was launched in Lincolnshire in May 2007, following the award of a 1.098m Preventative Technology Grant by the Department of Health. This early evaluation of its progress used existing demographic data, before and after measures of independence, user, carer and staff satisfaction surveys and case studies. Initial results have shown a positive response to the equipment, with a reduction in anxiety and increased independence for both the service user and the carer.

Financial inclusion for older people

L. Geoghegan

Working with Older People, vol. 12, June 2008, p. 26-29

The author explores the implications of financial exclusion for older people. Elderly people are more likely to be financially excluded if they are poor. They may not have a bank account, which means they cannot get access to credit, or to be able to afford home insurance, which means that they lose everything in the event of a fire or flood. However the financial services industry, the government, the regulator (the Financial Services Authority) and the voluntary sector are all working hard to improve the situation.

Lifestyle monitoring: extending telecare services into prediction and prevention

K. Doughty

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 2, Mar. 2008, p. 35-41

Advanced telecare systems based on lifestyle monitoring are being developed that will be both reactive and responsive in nature. They will require the recording of much data and will involve high levels of system intelligence to analyse changes in a dynamic manner. Data will be collected both continuously from a battery of sensors and intermittently from a variety of sources including monitoring centres and specialist medical devices. Many new applications will be possible ranging from automatic assessment of risks and needs to long-term detection of a decline in well-being and interventions using reminders and remotely controlled electrical equipment. However, these systems will require significant attention to issues of ethics, consent, data ownership, storage and access because of their potentially intrusive nature.

Safer walking? Issues and ethics in the use of electronic surveillance of people with dementia

R. Hughes

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 2, Mar. 2008, p. 45-48

People with dementia are prone to persistent walking or wandering, which can place them at risk of becoming lost or involved in accidents. Electronic surveillance and tracking can be used to monitor their whereabouts. This article reviews the effectiveness of the technology, and the consent and privacy issues surrounding its use.

The Scottish way

M. Marshall

Professional Social Work, July 2008, p. 16-17

The Scottish government has been reviewing its policy of free personal care for older people introduced after devolution, with particular emphasis on funding, costs and sustainability. The author, who was a member of the review panel led by Lord Sutherland, presents an overview of how the policy has worked out in practice and summarises Sutherland's recommendations for future developments.

Tartan-ised telecare? The roll-out of telecare services in Scotland

M. Mackenzie

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 2, Mar. 2008, p. 42-44

Telecare services are now being developed in all 32 local partnership areas across Scotland. This is attributable to clear national policy direction and the availability of ring-fenced capital funding.

We'll never meet again

A. Taylor

Community Care, June 26th 2008, p. 30-31

Older couples can face separation if their individual social care needs are different, most often when one is assessed as needing residential care while the other is deemed well enough to remain at home. Following adverse media publicity, the Department of Health has pledged to hold talks with councils about the issue.

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