NHS Highland Telecare Services
Imagine having the right kind of help at the touch of a button, any time day or night. Telecare is the use of technology and sensors to provide support and assistance at a distance. It gives you the freedom to live your life, safe in the knowledge that you can call for help quickly if you ever need it.
Who can benefit from telecare?
Telecare is available to any resident living in the Highlands and is suitable for a wide range of individuals including those who are:
- Older, vulnerable or frail and are living alone or spend long periods of time on their own
- Living in isolated areas
- Living with medical conditions, such as epilepsy, mental health problems or dementia
- In need of extra security and fire safety
- Victims of domestic abuse or burglaries
- Disabled, have restricted mobility or are unwell, and may need assistance in an emergency
- In need of extra support after a stay in hospital
To see how telecare could help you or someone else complete the Telecare Self-Check Online Tool. Visit www.telecareselfcheck.scot.
How does telecare work?
When a telecare sensor is triggered it will automatically raise an audible alarm and contact the NHS Highland Hub Response Centre (HUB) in Inverness, which is open 24 hours, 365 days a year. Trained operators at the HUB will provide reassurance and take the most appropriate action, which could be to contact the emergency services or your volunteer responders.
Responders are people you know, such as your family, friends or neighbours, who are willing to be contacted should you require assistance. The role of your responder is to provide support, reassurance and assistance in the event of alarm activation. We will never expect a responder to put themselves at risk.
What is available?
All telecare clients are offered our basic telecare installation which consists of: A base unit – this is a small box which is connected to your telephone line and a nearby electrical socket; a 100% waterproof body trigger – this can be worn around the neck as a pendant or around the wrist like a watch; and a smoke detector – this is linked to the HUB.
Basic Telecare is a great option if you are already independent but feel you could benefit from extra security and peace of mind in your own home. You will also benefit from extra fire protection as our smoke detectors are linked directly to the HUB who are able to call emergency services on your behalf.
For individuals with more complex needs, a range of additional telecare devices are available, including:
- Heat detectors – For use where it has been identified that someone is at risk from temperature extremes. Usually used in a kitchen to identify if a cooker has been left on
- Flood detectors – Used to detect water spillage i.e. forgetting to turn taps off
- Fall detectors – Used for people at high risk of falling AND may experience cognitive issues/Dementia or confusion
- Bed sensors – Used to detect when an individual gets out of bed during the night and fails to return after a certain time period.
- Medication dispensers – Automatically dispensed medication and provides an audible and visual alert as to each time medication should be taken.
- Passive infra red (PIR) sensors – PIR sensors detect “non-movement” which could indicate a fall, and also “movement” which could indicate a person has got out of bed or is about to enter a dangerous area.
- Door exit sensors – For use when there is evidence of someone going out at inappropriate times e.g. during the night
- Temperature extreme sensors – commonly used to detect low temperature in the person’s home and alert if at risk of hypothermia.
Enhanced telecare devices are designed to be discreet and act as an early alert system to various risks such as wondering, thus enabling people to stay at home for longer.
Telecare and Carers
If you are a live in carer, you may benefit from the ‘Care Assist,’ a portable pager. The Care Assist will produce an audible alarm and vibrate when a telecare sensor is triggered, so you can respond quickly to any situation that might arise. Additionally, we can link all devices to the HUB, giving you the freedom to safely leave the home, knowing the HUB operators will contact you if needed.
Charges for telecare
There is a charge of £6 a week for the Telecare service. A financial assessment is offered to all telecare clients to determine eligibility for free provision of the telecare service. There is no extra charge if you require replacement or additional telecare equipment. You will also receive yearly maintenance and free low battery replacement for your telecare equipment.
What do I need?
In order to get telecare you will need:
- To be able to appoint a minimum of 2 responders (preferably 3) who live within 30 minutes of your home, and are willing to respond in the event of an alarm activation
- A telephone line that can make incoming and outgoing calls
- A mains socket within a metre of the main telephone line.
How do I get telecare?
If you are receiving care from a community care team or have an assigned social work team, please contact them in the first instance as they will be able to complete a referral for you.
Otherwise, you can enquire about a telecare assessment through your Single Point of Access, find yours here- http://www.nhshighland.scot.nhs.uk/Services/ASC/Pages/SinglePointofAccess.aspx
What happens next?
Once we receive your telecare referral we will contact the Highland Handyperson service who will arrange a visit to install your telecare equipment and show you how to use telecare.
The Handyperson is a service available for people aged 65 or over who have difficulty carrying out small jobs around the home and for people of any age with a disability.
Contact the Telecare Team
If you would like more information about the Telecare service or if you would like us to attend your event or community group, please contact us on:
NHS Highland Telehealth Services
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of technology to provide healthcare at a distance.
NHS Highland’s Technology Enabled Care (TEC) team is currently using Simple Telehealth, also called Florence (or Flo for short), to support and monitor people with a wide range of health conditions and challenges.
Florence is an automated, interactive service which uses mobile phone text messages to monitor symptoms and to provide reminders, advice and support. Florence protocols (a protocol is a programme of text messages) can help patients to understand, monitor and manage their own health condition, treatment or lifestyle.
Who can benefit from telehealth?
Anybody with a mobile phone can use Florence – it doesn’t have to be a smartphone. There is no charge for using Florence, and there is no charge for sending or receiving the text messages.
Telehealth is designed to help people living with long-term health conditions or people who are struggling to make positive changes to their lifestyle. If you have a long-term health condition, or need some support making a lifestyle change, Florence could help you.
Florence can help you understand your health condition, allows your symptoms to be monitored remotely by your healthcare provider, and can reduce the number of appointments you need with health professionals e.g. GPs or specialist advisors.
Here are some examples of how Florence can help:
- Asthma or COPD – Florence sends regular text messages asking you to check your peak flow or your SATS, and then, depending on the reading you provide, gives appropriate healthcare advice. For example, if your peak flow is less than 50% of your best peak flow, Florence will tell you to dial 999, or call your GP urgently and what steps to take until help arrives; if your SATS are low, Florence will ask about other symptoms, and may suggest you consider taking your rescue medication, before your exacerbation worsens.
- BP Monitor – Florence asks you to take your own blood pressure twice a day, over a period of one or two weeks, and to text in the results, enabling your GP to assess whether you have high blood pressure, without repeated visits to the surgery
- My Steps Count – Florence asks for the number of steps you have taken each day, recorded using a pedometer, and helps you to gradually build up the number of steps. The protocol can support people who are struggling to be a little more physically active, through setting their own targets and encouraging them to meet those targets.
How does Florence work?
Florence is a simple, interactive telehealth service that provides support to patients by automatically sending out a programmed series of text messages (called a Florence protocol). Patients receive messages offering tips, support, advice and reminders, and also messages asking them to send in readings – depending on the Florence protocol readings may include peak flow, SATS, blood pressure, weight, and many more. Clinicians can log in to the Florence website to see patient readings and (if they wish) can edit messages and targets sent to patients.
What conditions are supported?
NHS Highland is currently using the Florence Service to help patients understand, monitor and self-manage a range of conditions and challenges, including: Asthma, high Blood Pressure, COPD, Diabetes, Epilepsy and Heart Failure.
Florence is also used to provide support and reinforcement for people attending a range of courses, or therapy sessions, run by NHS Highland staff, including courses for anxiety and depression, chronic pain, eating disorders, inflammatory arthritis and a range of mental health issues.
Florence is being used to provide reminders, support and advice, as well as monitoring, in a variety of situations, including for people at risk of falls, during pregnancy, during the first weeks after giving birth, and for those introducing the low FODMAP diet for IBS, suffering from lymphoedema and who need to do physiotherapy exercises, amongst many others.
Some healthcare professionals may ask you to complete a survey relating to your symptoms, using Florence, so that they have the information provided by your answers before your next appointment. For example, the ARM-A protocol for people with spasticity.
How do I get Florence?
Most Florence protocols are only available through healthcare professionals – your specialist nurse, consultant, physiotherapist, GP or practice nurse.
If you think one of the Florence protocols might be helpful for you, please speak to your health provider to find out if they are currently offering Florence. If they aren’t, you could suggest that they contact the Technology Enabled Care (TEC) team to find out about Florence.
- If you suffer from Asthma, high Blood Pressure, COPD or Diabetes – ask your specialist nurse, practice nurse of GP, if you are suitable for one of the Florence protocols
- If you would like to develop a healthier relationship with food and are attending one of NHS Highland’s Well Now courses for Health Weight, ask your course facilitator if they can enrol you on the Florence protocol designed to support the Well Now approach (visit the NHSH Healthy Weight page for more information about the Well Now courses)
- If you are planning to quit smoking and have chosen a quit date, ask the specialist advisor or community pharmacist who is helping you if they can enrol you on the Florence Smoke Free protocol. (N.B. visit http://smokefreehighland.co.uk/for more information about the advisory services available)
In addition, we can sign you up to the NHS Highland Reach Out Protocol:
- Help you to “Reach Out” to people who are lonely or socially isolated, by providing tips, reminders, and monitoring, via text messaging – to encourage people to support NHS Highland’s Reach Out campaign.
If you would like to sign up to Reach Out, please contact the department to give us your details.
Once we receive your details we will sign you up to Florence – and you will receive your first message. You will have to opt in, by texting YES, before you can receive any further messages. Once you have opted in, we will send out your pedometer or Wellbeing booklet by post.
N.B. there is no charge for sending text messages to Florence EVEN IF your phone tells you that you will be charged.
Your details will be stored in accordance with data protection legislation and will only be used for admin related to the Florence protocol you are signed up for, and evaluation of its success.
Contact the Telehealth Team
Use of Florence in NHS Highland
An internal evaluation of NHS Highland’s Florence service was undertaken early in 2018 by Flora Jones, and the evaluation report finalised in April 2018. The Florence protocols evaluated for the report were: Asthma, Low FODMAP Diet, COPD, Pelvic Floor Health, STEPPS, Healthy Weight and Blood Pressure Monitoring.
Key findings of the study:
Patient and clinician feedback:
- Florence supports patients to self-manage their conditions
- Patients feel less isolated
- Clinicians can remotely monitor patients
- 94% of patients who responded to our evaluation survey would recommend Florence to other people in their circumstances
- Florence’s reinforcement of health advice has led to improved adherence by patients
- This has led to a reduction in the number of clinic appointments and hospital admissions for certain condition
Florence is being used to:
- Provide Electronic Self-Management Action Plans
- Monitor symptoms
- Provide tips, advice and reminders
- Monitor patients using new Asthma drugs
- Diagnose hypertension
- Encourage patients attending courses to complete their ‘homework’
- Allow patients to ask questions by text message, to be answered by their clinician
Please find the evaluation report by clicking this link: Use of Florence within NHS Highland – F.M. Jones – April 2018.pdf
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