Survey finds little focus on using telecare to promote social contact and alleviate loneliness
Reported by Community Care (16 February 2018): What new research tells us about telecare use in English local authorities
Telecare doesn’t produce better outcomes for people who use it. This stark message was the finding of a large, Department of Health funded clinical trial, known as the ‘Whole System Demonstrator’ project (WSD), which concluded several years ago. But, despite this finding, and the adult social care spending cuts which continue to this day, local authorities have not scaled back investment in telecare.
The UTOPIA (Using Telecare for Older People In Adult social care) project, led by staff from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London, has produced new findings about why and how telecare is used for older people. They raise the possibility that it might not have been telecare itself but the ways it was used that led to the WSD findings. The study also suggests that given the strategic importance many councils now place on telecare, the infrastructure needed to implement it effectively may not be as robust as needed. The study involved a survey of all 152 English local authorities with social care responsibilities between November 2016 and January 2017 with a response rate of 75%. Key findings found that only a minority of local authorities said their telecare strategies had been produced collaboratively with local NHS or other partners and in most, telecare did not seem to be referenced within their carers’ strategy.