Over 160 health and social care professionals came together in Leeds on Wednesday to celebrate and raise awareness of telecare and telehealth technology, and the potential it has to increase independence for older and vulnerable people in Leeds.
The Leeds Telecare Event 2013 took place at the Village Hotel in Headlingley, where commissioners, district nurses, community matrons, social workers, occupational therapists and service leads gathered to learn how advancements in technology are increasingly helping people to live more independent lives.
Councillor Adam Ogilvie summarised the event nicely and highlighted some of the key points raised. He said: “All of us know that the health and social care landscape is rapidly changing. We’re all faced with pressures of budgets, issues around demographics and the ageing population, so there’s no doubt that telecare and telehealth has a really important role to play in terms of helping us to address some of those challenges.
“If you ask any room of people their aspirations for the future, they’ll say they want to live safely and independently within their own homes, and clearly there’s a role for telecare and telehealth in helping people to do that.
“Technology can sometimes be seen as a barrier and could potentially put people off but we’ve got to find ways of making it real and overcoming that. Dr Aldawould, GP & Clinical Lead for Service Innovation at Local Care Direct, made a good point that technology should be the ‘enabler’, the means and not the end, and how we can use telecare and telehealth to change our health and social care system to be more proactive, rather than reactive. It’s about moving a step closer to help service users before they ‘fall in the water’ and not just ‘fishing them out’ afterwards as Dr Aldawould put it.
“Dr Jason Broch, GP and Clinical Chair for Leeds North Clinical Commissioning Group, talked about some of the things already happening in Leeds around integrating health and social care. The lines have increasingly been blurred around the two but things like the Leeds Care Record – an exciting concept to integrate systems to pull together common information on every service user, is coming to fruition and will help professionals to provide more streamlined care. And, we mustn’t forget the work being done to position Leeds as a centre for health informatics globally which again, is a very exciting piece of work.”
Christine, a long-time telecare user, also helped to bring the benefits of telecare to life and told us how it has improved her quality of life during a light-hearted, live interview with Donna Whitelock from the Leeds TeleCare Service. She said: “I have a watch with a sensor which detects when I need help. I injured myself just over 12 months ago when I caught my leg on the foot plate of my wheelchair. I didn’t realise at the time but I hurt it quite badly, and I couldn’t do anything so I pressed the alarm. Soon after, the Response Centre contacted my personal assistant who took me to hospital to get checked out.”
“Ultimately, it’s like an insurance policy – you hope you don’t need it but it is there if you do. From my family’s point of view, they’re pleased that I’ve got it too because if I need help, all I have to do is press the button.”
The Leeds Telecare Event was certainly a valuable event for everyone and provided a real insight into the service and showed how together, we can increase independence and safety for the most vulnerable people in our city.
Here are some of the comments made:
“Good session for giving information on services available in Leeds.”
“I will certainly be referring people for the smoke detectors that are linked as we support vulnerable people who live independently. I would like to explore uses of the medicine dispenser more.”
“I will definitely consider making new referrals for telecare support to prevent hospital admission and falls prevention.”
“Very excited for our housebound elderly frail who are at risk!”
“Today has shown me how beneficial telecare can be for people with dementia, carers and families.”
For more information about the Leeds TeleCare Service, call 0113 224 3383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.