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£4 million investment in telecare
Plans to use technology to help increasing numbers of older people to live at home for longer are being advanced with a £4 million investment in telecare across Scotland.
Telecare is delivered by electronic devices in people's homes that support them to live independently when previously they may have needed hospital or residential care.
Public Health Minister Shona Robison said:
"Investing in telecare is vital if we are to remain ahead of the game in meeting the needs of our growing older population. Telecare can help older people remain independent in their own homes - something we must explore further if we are to rise to the challenges we face.
"We expect our older population to rise by 62 per cent over the next two decades. We are firmly committed to free personal care but we need to change the ways we deliver care, and investing in new technology like this has enormous potential to help us.
"More than 25,000 older Scots have already benefitted from telecare as part of £16 million invested since 2006. This extra £4 million investment means we - and our NHS and council partners - can help a further 13,000 people to receive telecare. As well as helping older people retain their independence at home, that will also help avoid an estimated 21,000 more hospital admission days.
"Just this week I launched Reshaping Care for Older People, making clear how important telecare is for our future. I was privileged to meet two older people who can live on their own supported by technology. Today's £4 million investment not only supports a shift in the balance of care from institutions to home - it helps people keep their independence and continue to contribute to their community like they always have."
Telecare can include:
Motion sensors to detect when someone has not moved for some time and may have fallen
Home safety devices such as fire, flood and intruder alarms linked to a staffed 24-hour response service
Emergency pendants to summon help in a crisis
Electronic reminder alerts to take medication, with carousel dispensers
Vibrating 'rumble' pillows for people who are hard of hearing
The £4 million funding will represent a total investment of £20 million in the Telecare Development Programme since August 2006.
The funding is being made available through the Scottish Government's eHealth programme over 2010-11, with all 32 local council and health board partnerships being offered £120,000 - subject to them committing match funding of an equal or greater amount.
In 2010-11 the 32 local area partnerships will be encouraged to use telecare to support improvements in falls prevention and the management of long term conditions like chronic heart failure and dementia.
As at the end of 2009, 25,800 people in Scotland had received telecare support funded by the National Telecare Development Programme.