Telecare provides choice and independence for people with learning disabilities and their carers

Yorkshire 17 April 2008Telecare offers increased choice, independence and quality of life for the United Kingdom's 1,75 million people with learning disabilities, according to telecare and telehealth provider Tunstall. The company has updated its Solutions for Independent Living guide to show how telecare provides a new model of care and support, enabling people with learning disabilities, their families and carers, to live full and independent lives.


Fifty percent of people with learning disabilities live with either a parent or another relative. Telecare helps to create an important balance between independence and support, giving people with learning disabilities - and their carers - reassurance that environmental and health risks are being managed and help is always on hand.

The guide presents new case studies including Waltham Forest where telecare is playing an integral role in a support living scheme, enabling people with autism to live full and independent lives, providing them with choice and control. The scheme's self-contained flats have been custom-designed to accommodate the specific needs of individual tenants, who had previously lived in a care home. Each tenant also has a tailored telecare package specific to their needs, to help them develop independent living skills and become integrated into the local community.

In developing the guide Tunstall has also worked closely with The Home Farm Trust Ltd. (HFT), a national charity and expert in the field of long-term support and care for people with learning disabilities. "We believe assistive technology has a crucial role to play in empowering individuals and enhancing the employability of people with learning disabilities and their family carers", stated Steve Barnard, project director at HFT. "Telecare has the potential to offer real alternatives to traditional models of care for people with learning disabilities and we look forward to being part of these opportunities."

The HFT has helped a number of people with learning disabilities live more independent lives. One example is James, a young man with Downs Syndrome, where telecare played a pivotal role in enabling him to continue to enjoy the independence he experienced at college, once he had moved back home. Living in a telecare-equipped annexe at his parents' home, James has the independence and privacy he wants, yet he and his parents have the reassurance that support is available should he need it. The tailored solution includes a series of telecare sensors including a flood detector, temperate extremes sensor, property exit sensor, and an intruder alarm.

At Nottingham Community Housing Association (NCHA), telecare has been welcomed by tenants, increasing confidence and helping them to take responsibility for their own lives with planned support. Louise, a resident of Supported Housing provided by the NCHA explains how telecare provides her with access to round-the-clock support.

"When staff are not on-site, I can contact SMaRT - the 24-hour call centre - using the Tunstall Lifeline, who will give me any support or advice over the phone or in my home if needed. SMaRT is brilliant for me, it has made a difference to my life and I now feel safer and have better support services when I need it. I think other people like me can live their own lives safely, with more choice and independence."

Tunstall's guide outlines how telecare solutions can be tailor-made to meet the needs of the individual, and have been designed to minimise and manage common risks for people with learning disabilities by using a range of unobtrusive sensors, around the home.

Tunstall is a provider of telecare and telehealth solutions, with over 2,5 million users globally. Tunstall's solutions support older people and those with long-term needs, to live independently, by effectively managing their health and well-being. Tunstall provides technology, expertise and advice to millions of people enabling them to lead independent more fulfilling lives. More company news can be found in the VMW January 2008 article Walsall and Hull launch mainstream deployments of telehealth for people with COPD and congestive heart failure, using Tunstall Genesis monitors.

Leslie Versweyveld

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