Long-term conditions such as heart failure, hypertension and diabetes can benefit from technology support which make it possible to prevent acute exacerbations and reduce the need for hospital admission through active management and self-management.
Improving efficiency through integrated telecare
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s adult social care department was charged with making efficiencies of £17m between 2011 and 2015, meaning that the promotion of independence became a crucial driver to the delivery of cost savings and demand management whilst at the same time looking to improve user outcomes. Having reviewed a range of options, the Council set objectives for supporting more people to remain independent at home by increasing its use of telecare, including reducing/delaying residential care admissions, incorporating telecare into the reablement process to reduce re-admissions to hospital and supporting carers.
Working in partnership with stakeholders the Council put in place a ‘hearts and minds’ engagement/ change management programme, identifying barriers to the successful implementation of the telecare service and putting in place plans to overcome them. Real life case examples were used as a powerful way of illustrating the benefits and impact of telecare to a wide and diverse range of people, and robust, transparent processes were put in place. It was also vital to integrate telecare into the community reablement process and rapid response service, creating a universally accessible service.
The number of telecare service users in Blackburn with Darwen has increased from 60 in 2010/11 to 1,910 in 2013/14. The Council’s evaluation shows that residential care admissions have been reduced by 18% (or equivalent to 57 people). Total net savings achieved are £2.2 million, £300,000 over the £1.9m target set, made up of £1.4 million savings from the telecare and reablement service and a further £800,000 saved solely as a result of the telecare service. From 2013 the service has been known as Safe and Well, and its preventative/early intervention approaches, in conjunction with telecare, produced a reduction in 2013/14 of £1.2 million (direct budget costs). The Safe and Well service was recognised as ‘inspirational’ and ‘person-centred’ at the Local Government Chronicle’s 2015 awards, where it won the Service Delivery Model category