Help at touch of a button scheme to be expanded


ELDERLY and vulnerable residents will be given the opportunity to hire potentially life saving equipment as part of a new council initiative.

Doncaster Council is currently looking to expand its Telecare scheme, where elderly residents are given a pendant to wear around their necks to push in case of an emergency, for a cost of £3 per week.

And as part of the proposed expansion, those most in need of care will be given the chance to hire up to three pieces of equipment, which would help in the event of a fall, carbon monoxide leak or a fit.

The plans were discussed at a meeting of the Adults and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Monday, where it was revealed putting these preventative measures in the homes of elderly and vulnerable people could save the social care system up to £16,000 per incident.

It was also suggested the alarm devices may be used to help families with epilepsy.

Speaking at the meeting Pat Higgs, assistant director of adult social care, said: “It is about giving people the flexibility to feel safe in their own homes.

“We have seen a lot of young people with epilepsy so having this equipment in the home means their families can go out to work and know they are safe.”

People asking for the pendant under the current Telecare system will be given the chance to have an additional assessment to see if they are at risk of falling, which is one of the biggest causes of broken hips in the elderly.

If the person is found to be at risk they could be offered a fall detector, chair or bed sensor and even a movement sensor to detect if they have not been mobile over a specified length of time.

When the sensors are set off a call is made automatically to a call centre where trained staff can offer advice and send out an emergency response team.

The proposed cost of £3.75 per week would include the cost of having up to three pieces of additional equipment installed in the home, a training session on how to use it, maintenance and repair or replacement costs.

And the council state the fee will not bring in any profit - it is just to cover the costs of buying and maintaining the equipment.

The number of people with access to the emergency pendant rose from 170 in January 2010 to 520 in December after the council phased out walking warden patrols.

Coun Patricia Schofield, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “Telecare can really help people.

“It can help give people choice and control over their own lives.”

It was also proposed that some pendant users may be entitled to a slightly discounted rate if the nominated emergency number is a family member or neighbour instead of a call centre.

The committee asked that officers put together an itemised costing plan before deciding whether to approve it later in the year.