A new report into telecare services across Wales has been published, which outlines service levels, costs and future plans for councils across the area.
Commissioned by TEC Cymru, a programme responsible for technology enabled care in Wales, and supported by NHS Wales, the aim was to conduct in-depth analysis into the telecare landscape in Wales to aid future improvements.
The analysis estimates there to be 77,000 telecare users in Wales, with 91 per cent being aged over 65, and services delivered by 22 councils and several housing associations. It highlights that 67 per cent of councils plan to align a move from analogue to digital, to enhance their service offering. This may include introducing proactive care or telehealth services; and to improve integration between health and social care bodies. However, the report highlights one in five have a strategy in place to manage the transition.
Consultancy company FarrPoint conducted questionnaires and workshops to gather data from each council, exploring the use of reactive and proactive measures currently in use, to then outline areas to improve. The areas included the collection of data for the measurement of services, the ability to benchmark service performance, improve data capture, increase automation and agree data standards.
The report summarised the existing Welsh telecare offering, and notes “significant variation in the telecare service offering in terms of take- up, scope and delivery arrangements” across Wales, and says there has been “very little evidence collated” on the benefits to service users, their families, and the health and care system.
Richard Parkinson, Director at FarrPoint, said: “Telecare is an extremely positive way in which we can support the most vulnerable in society, allowing them to continue to live independent lives, often from the comfort of their own home. The digital switchover will be a hurdle for many of the telecare providers across Wales but it is one that they absolutely must overcome. As a result, more residents will be able to benefit from these types of services, providing the support and peace of mind to allow them to live independently in their own homes.”
Aaron Edwards, TEC Cymru, added: “This report provides the first analysis into the current state of the sector in Wales and will be crucial to reshaping services with the citizen in mind. It also highlights the disparity between the access, cost and type of services that citizens have depending upon where they live.
“FarrPoint has previously done similar work in Scotland and England, which brought a valuable perspective on the rollout of digital telecare from across the UK. TEC has the potential to help huge numbers of people continue to live independently, and we’re committed to improving services across Wales, helping as many people as possible access the care they need.”
Findings from the report will be used to form of a proposal to the Welsh Government. The report can be viewed here.