What Is Telecare?

Kathleen Howard

Telecare is a term used to define any type of assistive technology that protects users and gives them the confidence to continue living independently. This technology is typically installed in the homes of the elderly, but it can also be used to monitor individuals with special needs. Telecare providers use sensors, alarms and telecommunication services to monitor and connect to their users. These technologies keep users safe by detecting gas, fire, flood, intruders, falls and other such emergencies. Providers may also use specialized telehealth equipment to remotely monitor an individual’s health.

Telecare may include measuring oxygen saturation and other vital signs.
Telecare may include measuring oxygen saturation and other vital signs.

There are several different types of devices used to provide telecare. Many providers supply users with personal alarms that can be activated anytime an individual needs assistance. These alarms are often placed on a device that can be worn, like a wristband or pendant, and are connected to a command center through the individual’s home phone line.

Telehealth devices may be used to monitor a person's blood pressure.
Telehealth devices may be used to monitor a person's blood pressure.

When the user activates his or her personal alarm, the connected command center will be immediately alerted. To ensure the safety of the individual, a representative might call to check on the person, send someone to check on the person, or contact the appropriate authorities. Since these services monitor and care for users from a distance, they are said to provide remote care.

Telecare providers might also install a system of sensors in a person’s home to monitor for possible emergencies. Motion sensors are typically used to detect possible intruders, accidents or a person wandering from the home. Other specialized sensors are commonly used to detect smoke, high temperatures, gas or water. These systems protect individuals who sometimes forget to turn off appliances or need additional monitoring throughout the day.

Telehealth services are also offered by many telecare providers. The term telehealth is used to describe devices connected to a healthcare provider or command center that monitor a person’s health from a distance. These devices might be used to monitor an individual’s pulse, blood sugar, blood pressure and other vital signs. Devices might also be used to remind a person to take medication or perform other important tasks.

After a person uses his or her telehealth device, the readings will be transmitted to a healthcare professional who will analyze the information. If a dangerous change or reading is detected, the professional will alert the proper parties so that action may be taken. This allows healthcare providers monitor a patient’s health from home, instead of having the patient frequently travel to visit his or her physician.

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