Families caring for ill or vulnerable people are facing obstacles to accessing telehealth and telecare services, despite 61% of carers using these services saying they bring peace of mind.
“Many carers live in constant worry about the people they care for which can prevent them from sleeping, being able to get out of the house or stay in work,” said Carers UK chief executive, Helena Herklots. “Telecare and telehealth can play a transformative role in reducing carer stress and give them the peace of mind to take time for themselves, socialise or even enable them to work alongside caring. Yet a lack of advice, information and awareness about how to access telecare and telehealth mean that these potential benefits are not being realised for many.”
Carer’s UK survey showed that, of those not currently using telecare, 62% were unaware of the technology available to help them; of those who were using them, a quarter did not know how to access it and 30% were never offered it. 12% who were using telecare said that it helped them to stay in work.
A FOI audit by the Good Governance Institute (GGI) found inconsistencies in the number of councils providing telecare services. 80% of councils have eligibility criteria for the services, but there are variations in the requirements. The audit also found that only GBP 28 million of GBP 648 million allocated to local authorities to fund care home support went towards telecare, despite evidence that these services can make cost savings. Wakefield Council reported net savings of GBP 1.3 million over six months.
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