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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2009): Social care - UK - community care

Beyond telecare: the future of independent living

C. Lowe

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 3, 2009, p.21-23

Telecare and telehealth, as these services are being delivered in practice, risk increasing the isolation of vulnerable people. This isolation often leads to depression, which in turn increases the costs of medical treatment substantially. The resultant lack of stimulation also creates conditions for the earlier onset of dementia. Finally, loss of identity exacerbates both depression and lack of stimulation. To overcome these problems, the technology should be used to encourage people to maintain and grow their engagement with wider society and to promote, rather than restrict, their mobility.

Improving the quality of telecare services: the role of audit and training

K. Doughty

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 3, 2009, p. 24-28

The results of serious external audits and evaluations of telecare services indicate that many are inefficient and that technology prescriptions are not always optimised. This appears to be the case especially where referral numbers are small and when many staff are asked to match technology to identified risk. The emerging best practice is for much greater emphasis on making professionals and members of the public aware of the technology, and then using a small, highly specialised team to ensure that telecare solutions are person-centred and tailored to individual needs.

The Individual Budgets Pilot Projects: impact and outcomes for carers

C. Glendinning and others

University of York, Social Policy Research Unit, 2009 (Working paper; 2298)

This study focused on the impact of individual budgets on informal carers looking after older and disabled people in the community. Carers of people who had been offered an individual budget were interviewed alongside a comparison group who received standard services. Results showed that individual budgets were associated with positive impacts on carers' quality of life, social care outcomes and psychological well-being. Two-thirds of carers had changed their views on what could be achieved in their lives following the offer of an individual budget to the person they were supporting.

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