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Community Alarms and Technology Enabled Care (TEC)

Technology Enabled Care (TEC) monitoring and response services to help support vulnerable people at home

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About Technology Enabled Care (TEC)

Most people would like to stay living safely at home and retain their independence for as long as possible. If you want to remain independent and stay in your own home there are a variety of ways to manage this.

Assistive technology is sometimes referred to as Technology enabled Care (TEC), which supports people to lead healthier lifestyles.

TEC is a service that provides sensors and monitors (eg technology that can detect motion or a fall). It is often linked to a community alarm system that triggers a warning at a control centre. This means that an alarm is responded to within a certain time.

This technology requires either a family member, friend, or a response service to be able to respond when contacted by the control centre.

Examples of telecare equipment include:

  • care alarms and sensors
  • fall detectors, you can wear these devices alongside a pendant alarm
  • wandering devices
  • smoke alarms
  • flood detectors
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors
  • heat/cold sensors

For more information or help regarding systems connected to a monitoring service (telecare), contact the Telecare Services Association. You can search for providers and get advice on different products and services available.

A Key Safe is another useful item which can be fixed to an outside wall so that trusted people can access your home, particularly in an emergency. You enter an access code of your choice. These can be purchased online or locally, often via shops that sell some of the items listed above.
 

About Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology includes telehealth, telecare, telemedicine, telecoaching and self-care services that put people in control of their own health, wellbeing and support. This technology helps to keep them safe, well and independent, and offers them and their families peace of mind. 

Assistive technologies are often pieces of equipment designed to prompt and assist you with everyday activities that have become difficult.

Examples of assistive technology include:

  • simple mobile phones
  • bath plugs that reduce the risk of scalding and flooding
  • remote control for electrical items in the home
  • automatic pill dispensers
  • a gas shut off device
  • picture clocks which offer visual and audible cues to a variety of daily tasks such as eating, drinking and taking medication

If you're unsure about what might help make your life easier, the Safe and Well Berkshire website and Ask SARA on the Carers UK website are both free and easy to use online services that offer advice on a range of devices which may be able to help you live more independently.

Falls Prevention

There are assistive technology products that can be recommended to support older or vulnerable people who are at risk of trips and falls, for example:

  • grab rails in the shower, by the bath or positioned by a door to enable easier access over a step
  • a bath or shower seat
  • walking aids
  • chair raisers or seat lifts to assist when standing up from low chairs

About Telehealth

Telehealth typically involves electronic sensors or equipment that monitors vital health signs from home, or while on the move. This can mean fewer unplanned hospital or GP visits, and can significantly improve an individual's health and quality of life.

If you think telehealth would be beneficial to you, please speak to your GP.

Telehealth can monitor things such as:

  • temperature (through digital thermometers)
  • weight (through scales)
  • blood pressure (through a cuff)
  • oxygen (through a reader)
  • pulse (through a reader)
     

Getting Help

As a first step, we need to work out what kind of help you need and would be most appropriate. We do this through an assessment - you can arrange your assessment online, or read more about how we assess people's needs. If a bespoke piece of equipment is needed to meet your care and support needs we will work with you to progress this further.

Some of the suitable options for you could include using various types of technology (described above) to help you.

Once we have worked out the most appropriate type of help for you, we'll be able to work out if you're eligible for financial help to pay for the services you need.

Depending on your circumstances, we will either:

  • pay for the help you need on your behalf
  • pay part of the cost, with you paying the rest
  • or, give advice about suppliers you can use to pay for what you need yourself

You can find more information in our Icon for pdf Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Monitoring and Response Service Leaflet [1.04MB] .

Alternatively, our West Berkshire Directory lists a sample of telecare and assistive technology providers in our area, if you need to make your own arrangements.

Help from the NHS

If you receive continuing health care, or have an intermediate care package through the NHS (short-term care that is provided free of charge for people who no longer need to be in hospital but may need extra support to help them recover), they may pay for a telecare, telehealth or assistive technology service for you.

The NHS - Carer's Guide has more information, and NHS Telecare and Telehealth has more on telecare and telehealth.
 

Other Helpful Information

If you're having difficulty deciding what is the right equipment whatever your needs, you can find helpful information on the Which 'Later Life Care' website.

If you want to find out more about assistive technology and how it could help someone with dementia, the Alzheimer's Society provide helpful information and advice to help you decide on the best solution for your situation.

There are also a number of free self care 'apps' you can download to your smartphone or tablet which can give you advice and help with a number of Health and Wellbeing issues. Visit the NHS 'digital tools' webpage, where you can see what is available, and download appropriate apps to your own device.

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