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Department of Health Paper

Telecare is dependent on other care strategies for instance social work and the existence of family members for its benefits on the elderly to be felt. Moreover, in cases where an elderly person is home alone, the psychological benefits associated with the use of telecare may be minimal since they will feel lonely and may easily fall into depression (Sixsmith & Sixsmit 2008). The installation and running costs of telecare are high.

This may limit the number of elderly people that can access telecare and therefore its efficiency in alleviating suffering and improving management of the elderly people in the UK. However, these undoing can be corrected by use of integrated strategies that involve various stakeholders and developing packages that have been customized for elderly people. Organization of Telecare Though telecare may result in multiple gains by elderly and the society, there is still no sufficient evidence to support large scale implementation of telecare within the UK.

However, with increase in the elderly the potential benefits associated with telecare will have to be harnessed. A key step in improving the application of telecare to dealing with the challenges facings the elderly and providing required social and health care is improving research on telecare. The dependence of technology and a number of variables factors that is definitive of telecare implies that there is need for extensive research systems to ensure that its implementation is actually beneficial on the elderly.

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Such research will require endeavours from various social stakeholder for instance social workers, the healthcare department, professional gerontology associations and higher education and will help determine other benefits and even risks associated with the use of telecare (Gould, West & Mancuso 2009). The literature review highlights the potential psychological benefits associated with the use of telecare in managing elderly people. Analysis of the various cost benefit models reveals that due to methodological difficulties such benefits have not been included.

Though minimizing the costs associated with managing the elderly may be an objective, the overall aim in managing the elderly is to ensure that they are provided with adequate support and care. The use of telecare shifts the responsibility of taking care for patients from exclusively care experts and the family at home since it includes the elderly people in their management. This inclusion of elderly people in their care reduces the risk of feeling useless and may improve their levels of activity which is important to their health.

However, there are various internal considerations that have to be considered in organizing, coordinating and implementing the processes involved in telecare (Sixsmith & Sixsmit 2008). The existence of qualitative evidence on the value placed on lower level services has to be captured in telecare. Though telecare is conventionally reactive in that it aims at addressing threats and risks that elderly people are facing, a proactive mechanism can be ported into telecare (Loader, Hardey & Keeble 2008).

This can be supported by the use of longitudinal studies on ageing that would help determine areas in telecare that ought to be improved. Moreover, the technological devices used in telecare should be configured such that they support detection of new signs and symptoms. In designing telecare packages, priority should be awarded to targeting interventions that will address people whose conditions is likely to deteriorate and those that may have high future needs (Jaana & Pare 2007). Telecare is a rather new approach to managing the challenges facing the elderly and the frail in the society.

Since telecare requires coordination with the families of the elderly and social workers, it is important that efforts be channelled to retraining social workers on the use of technology and telecare. Most social workers have limited knowledge of technology which may impede wide scale adoption of telecare in managing the elderly. This is an impediment that can be addressed by including measures to retrain social workers and incorporation of varied organizational structures that will support the use of telecare.

Most researchers are of the view that telecare should become an automatic consideration for any care package after the needs have been assessed (Loader, Hardey & Keeble 2008). Conclusion There are a host of potential benefits associated with the use of telecare in providing social and health care for elderly people in UK. Though there are lingering questions on the cost advantages associated with the use of telecare, it is evident that it provides a wider platform for providing emotional, moral and psychological support to the elderly.

This may affect their overall wellbeing and motivate them into seeking healthy living. However, the potential benefits associated with telecare can only be achieved if efforts are directed to inclusions of varied stakeholder in designing the healthcare packages. The evident need for continuous research on the benefits and challenges associated with the use of telecare may require the inclusion of varied social stakeholders and increased appreciation of the fact that aging is fast becoming a social problem in UK.

Word Count: 4276 (275 words per page) Reference List Barlow, J, Bayer, S & Curry, R 2005, ‘Flexible Homes, Flexible Care, Inflexible Organisations? The Role of Telecare in Supporting Independence’, Housing Studies, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 441-456 Buckland, M, Frost, B & Reeves, A 2006, ‘Liverpool Telecare Pilot: telecare as an information tool’, Informatics in Primary Care, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 191-196. Castleton, B 2006, ‘From pilot to practice: mainstreaming telecare’, Primary Health Care, vol. 16, no. 9, pp. 19-20.

Department of Health 2007, Modernising Adult Social Care –what’s working, viewed 18 May 2010 <http://www. dh. gov. uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_076204. pdf > Finkelstein, J, Lapshin, O, Castro, H, Cha, E & Provance, PG 2008, ‘Home-based physical telerehabilitation in patients with multiple sclerosis: A pilot study’, Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, vol. 45, no. 9, pp. 1361-1373.

Gortzis, LG, Bakettas, I, Makropoulos, C, Graschew, G & Nikiforidis, G 2008, ‘Portable biomedical devices: a critical issue during telecare services design’, Informatics for Health & Social Care, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 91-98. Gould, ON, West, S & Mancuso, M 2009, ‘The Perceived Functions of Alternative Primary Care Options Among Adults in Eastern Canada’, Hospital Topics, vol. 87, no. 4, pp. 1-7. Horton, K 2008, ‘The use of telecare for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: implications for management’, Journal of Nursing Management, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 173-180.

Jaana, M & Pare, G 2007. ‘Home telemonitoring of patients with diabetes: a systematic assessment of observed effects’, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 242-253. Kingsfund 2010, Securing Good Care for Older People, viewed 18 May 2010 <http://www. kingsfund. org. uk/document. rm? id=6311> Laing, W 2005, Trends in the London Care Market 1994–2024, Kings Fund, London. Loader, BD, Hardey, M & Keeble, L 2008, ‘Health informatics for older people: a review of ICT facilitated integrated care for older people’, International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 46-53.

National Statistics 2005, Projected increase of 7. 2m in UK population by 2031, viewed 18 May 2010 <http://www. statistics. gov. uk/pdfdir/poproj1005. pdf> Philp, A 2007, A Recipe for Care – Not a Single Ingredient: Clinical case for change, viewed 18 May 2010 <http://www. dh. gov. uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_065227. pdf > Sixsmith, A & Sixsmith, J 2008, ‘Ageing in Place in the United Kingdom’, Ageing International, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 219-235

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