Evidently, the use of telecare improves accessibility of the elderly and therefore reduces various risks that have been central to their hospitalization. Elderly people who live alone have for years had to deal with accidents and incidents at home without help. Bathroom accidents and slippery floors in homes have caused immeasurable physical and psychological pain for elderly people (Gould, West & Mancuso 2009). By improving the efficiency in raising alarms and monitoring the movement of the elderly, it is evident that telecare is a step in the right direction with respect to improving access to social and health care to the elderly.
However, these gains are dependent on the ability to access and employ the assistive technologies. Health and social care are addressed by telecare. Straddling the boundary between health and social care is an important characteristic that differentiates telecare from a number of existing interventions that mostly take on single dimensional approaches and fail to show appreciation of the existence of varied factors that may affect the health of elderly people (Jaana & Pare 2007). Moreover, telecare provides an effective platform for ensuring that the elderly are well positioned to implement effective preventive strategies.
There are various benefits associated with the use of telecare in managing the elderly. First, the approach can result in avoidance and deferring moving elderly people into a care home or a hospital. It is noteworthy that though the use of telecare may in some cases be costly than moving an elderly individual to a care home it can significantly defer this process. This has the benefit of reducing congestion in care homes and providing room for other people with critical illnesses.
Another benefit associated with the use of telecare is that it can considerably reduce and replaces some of the routine inputs from carers irrespective of the setting which permit their effective deployment (Gould, West & Mancuso 2009). It is noteworthy that social and health care needs for the elderly are universal and the government has strengthened its commitment to ensuring that elderly people receive adequate social and healthcare. By facilitating the improvement of deployment of social and health care workers, telecare ensures that elderly people are not sidelined and the challenges they face are addressed.
Hospitalization is a common issue in managing the elderly. Telecare provides additional support infrastructure that can allow for early discharge of patients thus mitigating the risks and costs associated with extended hospitalization. By facilitating the speedy relocation of elderly patients to their homes or other intermediate care settings, telecare can help free up hospitals beds and resources thereby aiding provision of healthcare services to other members (Gould, West & Mancuso 2009). Furthermore, telecare can help patients improve their lifestyles and facilitate maintenance of healthy lifestyles.
It is noteworthy that old age can be described as a phase of continuous physical and mental decline. This is clearly brought out by the existence of phases that are characterized by continuous decline in health and increase in social and health care needs. Therefore as people gain age, they become more needy and costly on the society and the healthcare system (Gould, West & Mancuso 2009). However, by maintaining healthy lifestyles with the intervention of telecare, dilapidation of health can be significantly reduced therefore delaying the advanced future needs.
Telecare has the potential of improving the efficiency of home care and reducing the costs associated with caring for an elderly person. The technological interface provided by telecare improves availability of healthcare services and may help determination of changes in activity that may pass unnoticed without the use of technology. Intelligent systems can effectively bring out the changes in activity of an elderly person that may have passed unnoticed (Barlow, Bayer & Curry 2005).
The costs associated with the implementation of telecare has been surrounded by controversy though it could reduce the time resource channelled to managing the elderly in their home by using a centralized management system in form of a call centre that is connected to different sensors within the environment of the elderly. Another important benefit associated with the use of telecare is that it is movable and can be redesigned to meet environmental needs. The use of wireless technology which is characteristic of telecare has ensured that telecare equipments can be installed and removed when they are no longer needed (Kingsfund 2010).
The wireless technology is also important in ensuring availability of care for the elderly irrespective of their location. The portability afforded by using wireless technology ensures that the elderly are not restricted which improves their daily experiences and overall health. From the multiple benefits offered by telecare it is evident that it has the potential of shaping future approaches to managing elderly patients and improving the use of technology as a social resource.