4.1 There are approximately 180,000 people in Scotland who are currently in receipt of some form of Telecare/Community Alarm Service – around one third are also in receipt of formal care at home. These services enable many vulnerable people, including older people recently discharged from hospital and those with dementia, to remain living in their own homes. Services range from providing reassurance over the phone, personal care and support for unpaid carers to responding to falls and arranging the attendance of emergency services. Such services often involve unplanned attendance in people’s homes, with little advanced information as to the situation being entered into.
4.2 Every Telecare/Community Alarm Service has an Alarm Receiving Centre where alerts are received and initially managed by call handlers. In addition, the majority of Telecare Services comprise assessors, equipment installers, technicians and responders, almost all of whom provide direct support or care in clients’ homes. All will require ongoing access to COVID-19 guidance and should be considered as front line workers.
It is likely that telecare services will see a higher volume of calls. Telecare service providers have been issued with information from the Scottish Government’s Technology Enabled Care Programme and the Scottish Local Government Digital Office, Telecare Service Continuity and COVID-19, which can be found at www.tec.scot. This provides a range of contingencies to consider and advises telecare services to work with care at home and other services and agencies to maximise capacity and minimise unnecessary contact with people who are self-isolating. The detailed guidance for telecare provides more information, but at the very least proactive communication with service users and their named contacts to keep them abreast of changes in service provision, to provide important information and – if capacity exists, to provide wellbeing and check-in calls. Consideration should also be given to capacity to take on new subscribers who may require some form of telecare support in response to changes to their current care arrangements.