OLDER PEOPLE ARE overwhelmingly seen by directors of adult social services as people who are most likely to benefit from the application of assistive technology to their care services. This is one of the main conclusions of the first-ever survey of DASS’s use of telehealthcare in helping to provide care services to a wide range of vulnerable people.
According to the ADASS report* some 70 per cent of DASSs believe that older people will be the greatest beneficiaries of assistive technology; 41 per cent of respondents ranked people with learning disabilities either first or second in terms of benefiting from telehealthcare, while 37 per cent made the same claim for carers.
In their narratives, respondents explained that it was largely due to the multi-faceted nature of older people’s care need that prompted anticipated use of technology.
Elsewhere, the findings showed that:
* Sixty one per cent of English local authorities provide telehealthcare services,
* Multi-sensory telecare was provided by 61 per cent of authorities,
* Councils supplied, on average, 4,402 community alarm systems,
* Twenty six per cent of councils are considering using Skype, three per cent are currently using, while 71% are not currently using it.
* Personal budgets were being used to fund telecare in 32 per cent of councils,
* Twelve per cent of LAs are using social media for older people, and a further 48 per cent are considering it.”
Of the 47 per cent of the Association’s chief officer membership who responded, the majority felt it would help all DASSs to have further evidence of the benefits of assistive technologies. The qualitative responses showed that councils have a strong appetite for sharing best practice and implementation experiences from around the country.
David Pearson, President of ADASS says “This is an important survey which not only helps establish a national picture of the maturity of services but also will support members generate further momentum in realising the potential for assistive technology.
“What is clear from the results is that we are a sector undergoing change, with a number of responses being qualified by comments relating to service reorganisation and Better Care Fund implementation planning. We hope our investment in resources to support members with their telecare service development can now be focused in the areas that make the most difference.”
Linda Sanders, assistive technology lead at ADASS, said “these findings will help us support directors to generate further momentum locally, to help understand needs, and decide what to focus on nationally.”