When it comes to technology and services available to help those in later life maintain their independence, it is clear that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution in terms of care and support. This is reflected in the “Wellbeing Principle” of the Care Act 2014, which requires social care teams and health professionals to respect each individual’s unique preferences and provide people with choice, dignity and control in the services delivered to them.
Pendant and wrist-based personal alarms can undoubtedly be lifesavers when used correctly, but anyone with experience in this field will confirm that wearable devices do not suit everyone all of the time. A significant number of people are either too reluctant or forgetful to wear their alarm consistently, particularly when introduced as the first level of support. And even for those who do wear them, it is inevitable that many will be unable to activate them if they are unconscious or incapacitated at the time they most need help.
Faced with someone who will not have a wearable alarm or invariably does not wear one, what options exist for health and social care professionals (as well as loved ones)? Certainly, trying to persuade the reluctant wearer may be successful, though if this is unsuccessful what alternatives exist?
This is where a service like Clever Contact can help because it was designed specifically to address these issues by providing a reliable and low-cost alternative
Firstly, there’s no device to wear with Clever Contact and this means that for those who don’t want to or will forget to wear an alarm, a better rate of adoption. Secondly, people can choose when and how they engage with the service each day. This gives them the choice and control they desire at a time in their life when they most fear their loss. Importantly, Clever Contact is also highly affordable for those funding the service themselves – less than £4 a week (excluding VAT). The service provides several other benefits as well:
- proactive wellbeing confirmation checks one or more times a day, 365 days a year
- medication reminders and personalised messaging to promote self-care
- friendly, human contact when needed to reduce feelings of isolation
- early indications of changing needs, enabling earlier interventions
- personalised plans for help or rescue
Proactively establishing daily contact with individuals has far-reaching benefits for social care and health providers too. For example, a recent study by Aston University highlighted that by improving patient aftercare with a simple post-hospital discharge phone call, recipients were shown to benefit from reduced rates of readmission. Clever Contact customers benefit both from reduced readmission rates but shorter hospital stays when compared with the national average.
While we await the much-anticipated green paper on reforming adult social care, it is clear that supporting independent living will be a key focus going forward. Staying at home for longer is most people’s preference and will significantly reduce some of the pressures facing social care services and the NHS. Independent living is best promoted by providing services which are tailored and personalised to the individual. It is important, therefore, that more is done to find ways to raise awareness of alternative approaches to pendant alarms with social care and health professionals. By giving people more choice in the technology and support available to help them stay independent, it will encourage usage and ultimately be more effective – with far-reaching benefits for society as a whole.
Find out more about how Clever Contact can help your patients and customers, please contact Fiona Hasson, Partnership Manager, on 0808 208 1234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.