Kicking over the traces: Transforming Community Equipment Services (UK)

The output from the Transforming Community Equipment Services Project was posted on the Care Services Efficiency Delivery (CSED) website on 25 May. For something so potentially significant for the underpinning fabric of the UK’s social and health care systems; thousands of people employed by community equipment services; the equipment supply industry and millions of people who have care needs that can be supported by equipment, one wonders why it has not been considered significant enough to be headlined on CSIP’s website (CSED’s umbrella organisation), or featured in a press release by the Department of Health.

Now cast as Transforming Community Equipment and Wheelchair Services (TCEWS), it is not possible to determine what the implications are for specific types of equipment such as telecare, communication aids, equipment for people with sensory problems, or, indeed, wheelchairs. It’s all much too ‘high level’ for that.

On the subject of that acronym I think a more appropriate one might have been TraCES as – for good or ill – that is all there will be left of statutory community equipment provision if these proposals for a market driven approach are widely adopted. However, the potential winners are:
• The Disabled Living Foundation (DLF), the Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST) and Ricability which could transform into properly funded information/accreditation organisations. This would be a great outcome.
• Equipment suppliers who will benefit from more sales and less recycling of equipment. eBay might do well too. (See also the ‘Tech bargains’ story below.)
• The new workforce of independent assessors.
• People who need equipment who can afford to contribute to the cost. But that’s everyone these days, of course.

The potential losers? Just about everyone else, but particularly councils who, until they find legal ways to limit their spending, will need to make massive provision to meet the funding commitments that will be made on their behalf by the independent assessors.

This is an important issue, so I’ve gone on at some length although Telecare Aware isn’t the place to dwell on these proposals. Download the four documents and comment to the TCEWS Programme Manager, and go along to the events being organised. For readers with a sensitive disposition I should point out that the documents have not been well proof read. In particular, I note that after a year of working with one of the major stakeholders in this project, the British Healthcare Trades Association, someone was unable to get its name right!

Telemonitoring or structured telephone support programmes for patients with chronic heart failure: systematic review and meta-analysis

This review of 14 studies found that remote monitoring programmes for patients with chronic heart failure living in the community reduced admissions to hospital and all cause mortality by nearly one fifth while improving health related quality of life, but had no significant effect on all cause admission to hospital. Detailed article from the BMJ about telephone support v telemonitoring has an interesting discussion section. My thanks to David Bergman from Medic4all for the note of this article.

DLF launches new version of SARA

Not telecare, but of interest to readers, the new version of the DLF’s online self assessment tool, SARA (Self Assessment, Rapid Access), includes a number of improvements based on user feedback. It is no longer necessary to register to use the service; there are more images; a more accessible design, and reports are generated more quickly.

Birmingham City and Croydon Council have also licensed SARA for their own use as part of the Department of Health’s pilot project to test and evaluate the concept of self assessment.

Blue Tree Services launches people tracking service (UK)

This looks similar to the Loc8me story posted here 31 August, the Yorkshire Safe-T story from 28 January and even the Irish TopLocate story from 30 January. What’s not explained is how these services track people within, say, shopping centres and other such indoor locations where GPS doesn’t work. If you know, please post a comment below. Thanks.

Blue Tree Services press release on its ‘OurSOS’ service.

TopLocate: New service in Ireland

“The services are intended to give a degree of comfort to those who may be concerned about their friends or children,” says Mark Gleeson, general manager of Top Security, which has launched the services that are intended to improve people’s safety. They use a combination of mobile, landline and web technology, allowing friends or colleagues to be alerted in the event that a person doesn’t arrive home when expected, or if they find themselves in a difficult situation. Story from SiliconRepublic.

New video: Telecare – Providing Dignity, Security and Efficiency (UK)

Just released ‘must see’ video on aspects of telecare by eGovTV. It covers:
• Expert Panel – Telecare Opportunities: 7 min
• Case Study- Notts Care Services – Award Winning Telecare: 6 min
• Case Study- Cheshire County Mainstreams Telecare: 8 min
• Case Study- Safety Confirmation – A New Approach to Telecare: 5 min
• Policy Drivers and Initiatives: 3 min
• Clarifying the Terminology: 4 min
• Service and Technology Options: 4 min
• Procurement through PASA: 3 min
• PTG Preventative Technology Grant: 2 min
• Key Challenges: 7 min
• Local Authority Progress to Date: 7 min
• The Future for Telecare: 6 min

More, and viewing link, on the videos page.

Disabled Living Foundation revamps website

The DLF was early in the field of user support via the internet and now its clunky old site has been replaced with one that is easier for the public, professionals and businesses to navigate, and from which they can access the SARA self assessment system. Not particularly telecare, but a valuable all-round asset for disabled people and services supporting them. Click on the link on the right of this column to visit the DLF’s revamped website.

Scotty Group equips Holland’s biggest telehealth project (+ video)

According to this British Journal of Healthcare Computing article, Scotty Group plc made an initial delivery of equipment to Dutch telecoms provider KPN in October, as part of a €1.5m telehealth deal with KPN signed in July.

See a seven-and-a-half minute video of the Scotty Dutch project on the Home Telehealth Ltd. website. Navigate from the home page to videos and ‘CareStation – TV based homehealthcare’. There are also two other video clips of Scotty video telehealth solutions in operation. Peter Range, of Home Telehealth says ‘As one of Scotty’s largest telehealth partners in the UK, we would be pleased to assist any of your readers who may have an interest in this telecare/telehealth solution. Also for the record, Joop Wallenburg, presented this video last Wednesday at the TSA conference in Cardiff, but in Dutch, so any TSA delegates who now want to see it in English can now do so.’

Westminster – Cisco’s Wireless City (UK)

This addition to the video library should give ammunition to all who are looking for substantial investment in telecare, along the lines that London Borough of Newham intends.

The video itself shows how Westminster invested many millions in wireless CCT systems to help keep its citizens and visitors safe on the streets. How about a similar spend to keep them safe in their homes? You need to be flash enabled and turn your sound on to view the Wireless City video on the Cisco website. (6:30 mins) (May take a few moments to load.)

Tony Blair makes announcement on community equipment and wheelchairs

This may only touch on telecare in the UK, but this announcement will be of interest to many of our UK readers for other reasons.

The Government is expecting ‘third sector’ organisations to bring about the improvements for users that it thinks statutory services have failed to deliver.

Read the Cabinet Office press notice.

Recent independent report on state of community equipment services. (Go to ICES Report page)

Euro millions to be invested in falls risk assessments? (Eire)

In Ireland, a falls prevention working group is preparing a report which will potentially guide millions of euro in investments toward falls risk assessment. There are statistics in this article but, what is more interesting, is the medical mind-set that assumes that large expenditure is required owing to the need to establish assessment ‘facilities’ when, surely, this is an area where the majority of assessments could be undertaken as self-assessments if the right software and publicity approach were taken. Irish Medical Times article.