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North East telecare service helps housing residents feel safe in their homes

Norman from Prudhoe in Northumberland has a Reach Digital At-Home Alarm Unit installed in his 2-bedroom bungalow close to The Manors Extra Care Scheme. He said since Covid-19: “It has been difficult not being able to get out and to see friends but having the alarm system in place has given me reassurance that someone is there if I ever need them. Luckily, I’ve not had to use the system, but I know how to use it and I know it’s there is I ever need it.”

Also living in Prudhoe and benefitting from having an alarm unit installed into his home is Michael Thirtle. Last year, Michael suffered a heart attack and has experienced problems with his eyesight, so he feels having a pendant and the mobile response service is paramount in helping him to live independently.

A telecare alarm service, run by socially-driven housing association Karbon Homes in the North East and Yorkshire, has been keeping customers feel safe and secure in their homes during Covid-19.

“I’d be lost without it,” Michael continues, “when I accidentally pressed the button, they called to check on me to make sure I was OK. The service was very good and Karbon were excellent on the phone to me and reassured me.”

The alarm unit connects customers to a control centre should they need help. One press of the button on the alarm unit, or on their remote pendant, immediately connects them to a trained operator who will arrange for help from neighbours, relatives, friends, a mobile warden, or emergency services.

The system not only gives customers peace of mind, it also helps them to maintain an independent lifestyle with the security of knowing someone will always be there for them should they need it.

Like most people living on their own during Covid-19, Karbon’s customers have felt isolated during lockdown and with strict social distancing measures in place and limited face-to-face contact, this has had a huge impact on people’s lives. The service has been crucial during this time to ensure our customers feel connected and reassured they have somebody they can turn to in case of an emergency.

Karbon holds the telecare service with such high regard that they recently became members of TEC Services Association (TSA) - the industry and advisory body for Technology Enabled Care (TEC), which promotes and supports the technology enabled care industry in the UK. During Covid-19, TSA has been working round-the-clock supporting its service provider and supplier members with guidance and quality standards, as well as working in partnership with Department of Health and Social Care and NHSx to embed TEC further into the social care network for the benefit of those living in housing associations.

Jon McDonald, Retirement Living Manager at Karbon Homes, said: “Telecare monitoring plays an important role in helping customers stay independent in their homes for longer. For many service users and carers, the Monitoring Centre keeps customers feeling confident that they’re safe in their home, whilst providing a ‘lifeline’ to help and support should they need it.

“The system is used by a range of our customers, from younger users who are disabled or unwell, through to older users who want that extra peace of mind. The service has been invaluable during Covid-19, helping Karbon’s customers feel safe and reassured and to demonstrate our commitment of how much we value this service, we have agreed to become members of the TSA.”

The TSA represents and brings together organisations from across government and local government, health and social care commissioners, telecare providers, housing associations, emergency services, charities and digital health businesses and technology health startups.

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