Telecare and Assistive Technology Evaluation - Summary Document
Research team
Kevin Cullen, Sarah Delaney, Philomena Stapleton and Richard Wynne Work Research Centre

Summary: Telecare & Assistive Technology Evaluation

This summary presents the main results and conclusions from an evaluation of the telecare and assistive technology initiatives implemented by the first four demonstration sites funded under the HSE & Genio Dementia Programme (2012-2015). 

‘Telecare’ refers to remote provision of care and support to persons with dementia. This covers risk management and other supports provided by care services or informal carers who are not present in the home, as well as in-home arrangements enabling carers to provide care to a person with dementia from another room or part of the home and its environs.

The evaluation involved a total of 24 clients (persons with dementia and their family carers), each with a tailored mix of telecare sensors and devices. All 24 cases reported positive benefits from telecare, often major benefits. In some cases there were also some negative impacts, including nuisance factors because of noisy or over-sensitive technology and, sometimes, dilemmas about the trade-offs between invasion of privacy and benefits for the person with dementia. In all cases, carers felt that the positives outweighed the negatives, often substantially.

Key Points
  • Telecare and assistive technology provided significant benefits for many persons with dementia and family carers.
  • When effectively targeted and meeting client needs, telecare can provide good value for money; it would typically represent only a small incremental addition to the costs of a home care package.
  • Telecare and assistive technology should be more widely available; the implementation of the Dementia Strategy could give focused attention to this field.
  • Person-centered approaches with individualised technology packages work best.
  • Care services should aim to keep ‘in the loop’ after telecare installation, to monitor effectiveness and, where appropriate, to utilise telecare information for care planning.
  • There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ technological solution for the wide-ranging circumstances and needs of persons with dementia living in the community, nor is technology.

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