Merits of having an externally monitored Warden call system for ECH

Dan Monks 25/10/18 General Housing Topics


My organisation, Bristol Charities, is in the process of completing the development of a 60 unit Extra Care Housing site in Bristol. I am going through the process of tying up some of the details and was hoping some members may be able to give me some advice or share experiences around the need for emergency call monitoring for this type of housing.

My question is basically do any of you feel a remote monitoring centre for a warden call system is useful or practicable considering there will be 24/7 attendance in site from the care team?

I wondering about a 'belt and braces' approach and was hoping some of you may be able to share your experiences. any help you can offer would be gratefully received.

Thanks in advance

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Justin Danher 25/10/18


Feel free to contact me to discuss this - we have recently opened a 60 unit scheme



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Old forum user 25/10/18

There's two options

1. Access for support 24 hours per day on site by one of your warden.

2. Or access by Telephone call which some sort of cord is provide for the service user to wear around the neck which is more personal and for them to press should there be an emergency.

The choice is yours really. I would go for the cord simple reasons because of the size of the unit just my personal choice mind.


Dan Monks 25/10/18

HI Marie, thanks for your reply.

I just re-read and think I may not have been clear.

Basically, there will be a system installed but at the moment I am wondering whrether or not it is worth connecting it to a monitoring centre as a 'back up', just in case there isn't anyone in the area to assist. We will supply pendants to residents who wish to have one but I'm just wondering if I need to connect remotely as well as to the person on-site - the site will be manned 24/7.

I suppose I'm trying to work out if it is a justifiable cost to be connected to two separate monitoring entities

James Jordan 28/10/18

Hi Dan,
If you have care staff on site then the off site warden option should not be necessary. The issue is how assistance can be called by the resident. Fixed call points assume someone will reach the call point. However they are useful for visitors to call for assistance. Having the cord around the neck also assumes that they will be wearing it when needed. My experience is that quite often you will find the call button in the drawer beside the bed as they don't always like to wear it.

Voice activation is also an option. However they need to be conscious for that to work. So it is difficult to cover all options.

We are currently trialing configuring an Amazon Eco Dot to send an SMS message when the resident calls out "Alexa Help". Of course the echo dot has a lot of other benefits as well.


Old forum user 29/10/18

Hi Dan,

It's all depend on the health and complexity care needs of the service users. If the service users have severe health problems that needs attention and their complex needs are high I would ensure to have every back plan in place and not look at it as a justifiable costs. It could cost you more should a problem arises due to a service user experiencing some form of health difficulties and the first plan failed for what ever reasons.

In my own opinion I would have two plans in place one for backup.


Old forum user 29/10/18

Hi James,

[My experience is that quite often you will find the call button in the drawer beside the bed as they don't always like to wear it.]

I too have seen that many times. That is why back up plans are important and those who remove their pendants I've always suggested to my service provider clients to ensure their staff encourage the service users to wear their pendants as much as possible and to regularly check on their most vulnerable service users.


Tracy Asbery 29/10/18

Hi Dan,

I would absolutely have a back up as if all the carers are covering care calls you could have you will have a delay in responding. Also if you have a technical issue with handsets or if handsets are not answered it will divert to a 24 hours service who can respond in an emergency.

Justin Danher 29/10/18

Having a back up would depend on your relationship with the care company. As a housing provider do you provide care at the scheme ? Or are they commissioned by the local authority under tri-parte agreement between Landlord, Care and Local Authority. In which case the landlord wouldn't normally get involved in any aspect of care.

Gill Walton 29/10/18


I manage several extra care schemes and we employ staff Mon to Fri as the landlord. I find that working closely with the care provider (commissioned by the council) gives the best service to residents and presenting a 'one team' approach means we can best manage the complex and changing care and support requirements of the residents. We have an externally monitored 24 hour alarm system which does two things: it provides an out of hours repairs service to the residents and it triages calls from residents which allows the carers to deliver their caring role. Residents can slip into calling for cups of coffee and asking for curtains to be closed etc which is not the role of the carers who are there to deliver care. If resident has a fall or needs a carer for a legitimate reason the monitoring centre contact the care team to respond. We work hard with residents to encourage them to wear their pendants and generally they do, particularly if they are frailer.. the monitoring service is only used when the Housing staff are not on duty.

Harry Goodrich 29/10/18

You will probably be ok not having an external monitoring service, but I suggest you agree written procedures with the Care Provider as to what they will and won't do in out of hours situations, e.g. if relating to housing management or repairs issues.

Nina Brunton 29/10/18

Hi Dan,
Another consideration is back up in the event of fire and if there are times when there is only one member of staff on site. If they were to become incapacitated then there's no back up to call the emergency services. On balance, I opted to also have external monitoring to ensure all possibilities were covered.