Tony Zaman is Director of Adult Services at the London Borough of Hillingdon. Here, Tony talks about how telecare has helped the council offer residents more choice, as well as improving outcomes and overcoming the challenges in shifting service provision towards home-based care.
Having Joined Hillingdon less than a year ago, it was clear to me straight away that they had already made great progress in creating a fundamental shift in service provision away from institutionalised care, towards home-based support, prevention and early intervention. I am committed to building on these achievements and giving residents more choice and control over the care they receive and how, when and where they receive it.
Telecare has played an important part in helping make the council’s vision of ‘putting our residents first’ a reality by supporting vulnerable residents to live independently in their own homes. It provides reassurance through a range of simple to use devices and alarms linked to a 24/7 staffed TeleCareLine, that help is available in an emergency.
Our older residents tell us they want to stay healthy, active and to remain independent in their own homes for as long as possible. In response, we recently took the decision to reduce the age at which telecare is offered free of charge from 85 to 80 to enable more of our residents and their families to benefit from the peace of mind that a 24/7 alarm system provides.
The leadership within the council supported this move and today over 3,300 residents in Hillingdon benefit from the independence and support telecare brings. Many of these installations have been self-referrals from residents who have seen first-hand how the technology is benefiting those around them.
Not only is telecare helping us to put our residents first but we’ve also achieved significant financial savings, increased the number of residents not requiring further services after our six week reablement programme and reduced long-term residential placements from 8.08 to 2.13 per week. We’re proud of our success so far, but there is more to be done…
We’re on a journey to better care
As demand on our services continues to increase, I believe that the way that we provide social care will need to evolve to ensure our older and disabled residents have the same level of choice, control and freedom in their daily lives as any other person.
We want to review the customer journey and firmly embed telecare and telehealth solutions across all our health and social care services. This means not only supporting use of this technology amongst our older residents but also exploring its benefits for adults and children.
Our Better Care Fund Plan sets out four work streams which pilot projects from falls prevention to new pathways for early supported discharge from secondary care. It also includes initiatives covering care homes, seven day working and the development of an integrated IT system across health and social care,
The Better Care Fund offers a stepping stone towards new forms of social care delivery and it’s important to engage our health partners at an early stage. It’s vital we work closely together in order to achieve better value, improve self-management and promote independence to our residents.
What of the future?
We plan to continue to develop the Better Care Fund programme and work with our partners Tunstall Healthcare to formulate prototype plans across the social care spectrum, so that more of our residents can benefit from telecare technology.
We are also about to launch a telehealth service in partnership with Tunstall and Central & North West London Community Trust to ensure our joint resources are used in the most effective way and that residents are able to enjoy a better quality of life than may otherwise be the case.
In Hillingdon we hold the view that if we put the person first and transform services to improve outcomes for residents, efficiencies and effectiveness automatically follow. I’m certainly enthusiastic in looking to explore fully the opportunities of technology enabled care services to promote self-directed support so that individuals have more control over the things that matter to them.
Tony Zaman is Director of Adult Services at London Borough of Hillingdon
Thanks to ADASS for allowing us to publish this blog, which was originally posted here.