‘Telecare’ refers to items such as pendant alarms and sensors which can help people to live safely and independently in their own homes. There are lots of benefits in using telecare. For example, having peace of mind in knowing that if an emergency took place then help would be received quickly. Telecare can also help carers. However lots of people who could benefit from having telecare in their homes do not have it. This may be due to cost, because they don’t know about telecare, or because they don’t like it and they feel that telecare is of no use to them.
This study helped to understand the reasons why many people in Sheffield have refused or have never had telecare. The researchers also wished to understand what might persuade people to accept telecare, and what might be the best way to communicate the benefits of telecare to people (e.g. DVDs, posters etc).
We have interviewed 22 people who have either refused the Sheffield City Wide Care Alarms service, or have never become known to the service, to find out and to understand their reasons for deciding not to receive, or not to continue with, this service. We have also spoken with members of local voluntary organisations and health and social care professionals to find out a wide range of views regarding telecare systems.
The findings have influenced the business case and communication methods of Sheffield City Council and City Wide Care Alarm’s telecare service, e.g. providing more info to users about financial options and changing the images used in their advertising. They results have also been used to understand whether perceptions towards telecare have changed in the last twenty years in light of developments in social care services and technology.