Research highlights how Telecare could save millions in social care provision and improve quality of life to service users
A new report published by FACE Recording & Measurement Systems, shows how the deployment of Telecare by English councils could achieve substantial savings for councils in the provision of social care for older people.
The report, ‘Investing to Save: Assessing the Cost-effectiveness of Telecare’, gives the results from a joint research project conducted by FACE with the support of researchers at the British Psychological Society’s Centre for Outcomes, Research and Effectiveness, based at UCL. The project was supported by an educational grant from Tunstall. The results show that a widespread, targeted use of telecare could create potential savings of between £3m – £7.8m for a typical council, equating to 7.4% – 19.4% of the total older peoples’ social care budget for an average council.
On average, there are 38,500 people over the age of 65 in a council serving a typical population of 250,000. These councils have an estimated social care budget of £40m, with over £14m (35%) of this spent on residential care provision. According to the report’s findings, the average weekly cost of telecare provision to meet each service user’s needs where recommended was £6.25, in comparison to an average weekly pre-telecare package cost of £167.
“In addition to further confirming the savings realisable through Telecare, the major benefit of this report is that it shows there is a straightforward method of moving from accurate assessment of a relatively small set of individuals to robust prediction of the impact of Telecare on a larger population. Moreover, the ability to monitor the extent to which those savings are being realised, based on routine practice, is a major leap forward.” Paul Clifford, Managing Director of FACE.
The report recommends that councils should actively promote the provision of telecare as a ‘mainstream’ activity, and should make local estimates of savings realisable through telecare. Councils should look to include standard methods of assessment and training in the applicability of telecare within their re-ablement and personalisation processes, and introduce a regular outcomes-monitoring system to ensure that savings are realised in the most cost-efficient manner.
The project involved a sample group of 50 people who had a completed FACE Overview Assessment. Of the 36 females and 14 males assessed, most had more than one long-term condition or disability, 33 were identified as being able to benefit from telecare (66%).
According to Tunstall, the methods developed in the FACE study provide the basis for councils to undertake local estimates of the financial savings realisable through the introduction of telecare. The use of standard assessments and the methodology developed in the report provides the basis for a routine system of outcomes monitoring and savings projection for councils that wish to maximise savings through telecare.
“The results show the substantial savings that are achievable through the widespread, targeted use of telecare. Telecare is about giving service users greater control of their lives and enabling them to make the choices they wish to make, and this goes hand-in-hand with the aims of both re-ablement and personalisation.
“To fully realise its benefits, telecare has to become an integral part of these practices, rather than being perceived as separate initiative. The provision of telecare is a win-win solution for both councils and service users, reducing costs and improving quality of life.” Simon Arnold, Managing Director, Tunstall.
“This report not only confirms that the enormous benefits of Telecare are maximised by mainstreaming, it also provides a practical tool for councils to scope the potential in their individual locality. This will prove invaluable for authorities, enabling them to analyse the effectiveness of telecare in their communities, and helping them to ensure that savings are realised in the most cost-efficient manner”. Peter Hay, Strategic Director, Adults and Communities, Birmingham City Council and President of Association Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).
FACE assessment tools are nationally accredited by the Department of Health and used throughout the UK and Ireland by NHS, social care and independent sector organisations. Over 50% of councils in England use FACE assessments for community care assessment and the FACE RAS provides indicative budgets to over 20% of the population served by English councils.
The FACE report and a summary of the results are available by clicking here. A full range of supporting materials including a proposal for a local Telecare audit; the FACE Telecare Assessment Suite; and a monitoring system for evaluating the Telecare benefits are also available.
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