New technology can help us live independently and stay in control of our own health and wellbeing. You may hear this kind of technology referred to as telecare and telehealth.
Telecare is simple technology to help you stay living independently at home for longer.
You can use telecare to remind you of things you need to do, such as take your medication. Or a telecare system can automatically alert staff at a response centre or a carer if you need help, such as if you’ve fallen or haven’t realised you’ve left the gas on.
A telecare system isn’t intended to replace people, but it can be a helpful part of a package of care and support which fits into your everyday life.
Telehealth is designed to help people living with long-term health conditions at home.
Telehealth allows you to monitor your health without having to keep visiting your GP. You’re shown how to do the health readings and send them automatically to a health professional who checks your results and keeps an eye on your health needs.
Here are some ways telehealth can help people with long-term health conditions.
- If you have high blood pressure, a monitor can help you measure your blood pressure at home and send the results automatically to your GP.
- If you have asthma or COPD you can get a device that measures levels of oxygen in your blood to show how well you’re breathing. Your doctor or nurse can check these readings and give you help at an early stage, so you can avoid having to have urgent treatment.
- A glucose meter can keep a check on your blood sugar levels if you are diabetic. You can also get a low blood sugar alarm that looks like a wristwatch. You wear it at night to warn you if your blood sugar drops when you’re asleep.
- If you get recurring urinary infections, a simple telehealth device can test for this. You send the results electronically to your healthcare professional so you can get early treatment.
Ask your GP, health visitor or community nurse about what is available in your area and if you are suitable for telehealth monitoring.