A literature search had found little evidence about the benefits and cost-effectiveness of telecare for people with dementia, so the Joint Improvement Team and Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare commissioned an evaluation of services delivered by Renfrewshire Community Partnership to clients with dementia and their use of the Telecare Service.
Renfrewshire had 325 telecare clients, over 30% with dementia, and consistent data from 2007 to 2012. Data from quantitative and qualitative analyses were used; covering measurable outcomes such as mean lengths of stay in hospital, and admissions to care homes, while the softer qualitative analyses assessed the Telecare Service for safety, effectiveness, accessibility, acceptability and satisfaction.
“The evaluation demonstrates telecare can be used to support a significant proportion of dementia sufferers to live in the community; they, and their carers, are generally satisfied or highly satisfied with the service. Staff and the Police see major advantages; NHS staff seem increasingly accepting of it. It has also shown the key resource saving is likely to be care home admissions avoided”. (p.v).
After deducting capital and operating costs, the evidence suggests that use of telecare offers cost savings for users with dementia. Estimated net savings were roughly £0.38 million over five years. Two thirds of the estimated benefits were from reduced hospital admissions and length of stay in hospital.
Telecare for people with dementia: evaluation of Renfrewshire Project. Final evaluation York: York Health Economics Consortium; Joint Improvement Team; and Scottish Centre for Telehealth & Telecare, 2013.
[A brief reference to this item features in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 9, August 2013].