Telecare and Advanced Telecare

 February 13, 2014
By Javier Garcia

Languages, like living organisms, evolve over time to adapt to the requirements of a society also in transformation. The rise of new technologies and the ever increasing contact between different languages generate new words so quickly that they burst into our vocabulary without warning, often creating a barely conscious use thereafter.

Despite being a word we are familiar with, one which we use regularly, we would like to focus on the meaning of the word telecare. Generally speaking, new innovations in the field of geriatrics, an area forming increasingly closer ties with the technological world, can lead to misunderstandings.

Telecare refers to an emergency care service, generally for elderly or dependent persons, which is able to warn of an abnormal situation for its user by means of a simple calling device. Normally, this will be a button carried by the user 24 hours a day, whether in the form of a pendant or wristband, allowing them to raise the alarm immediately if they are taken ill. By pressing the button, the user is put in contact with a specialist, to whom they can speak “hands-free” to explain the situation, and who also informs the emergency services.

Telecare is a fundamental tool in promoting personal independence among the elderly, allowing them to stay in familiar surroundings with a greater sense of security, supported by a rapid and professional response to any incident.

Developments in Information and Communication Technologies, as well as new electronic devices and progress in the field of geriatrics, have led to the creation of a new branch of these systems: advanced telecare. Its advantages and uses go beyond the preventative action of the so-called “panic button”, employing a broad range of software and devices to provide extra services. Thus, advanced telecare involves monitoring both the user’s surroundings and condition in order to gather all the necessary information to warn of any high risk situations, provide assistance in an emergency and help promote a healthy and independent lifestyle.

Within this definition, we also find useful resources such as smoke detectors, locking systems for windows, medication alerts, and continual direct contact by calling or via fall sensors; all through a single device that is capable of contacting the elderly user, their family members, caregivers and medical staff.

Yet Kwido goes beyond advanced telecare, with a care system via tablet which builds on these uses, allowing the customization of the device according to the specific needs of each user. Hence, in addition to routine monitoring of health parameters, videocalls, medication reminders or the ability to send personalized messages; it also takes the person’s cultural and social dimension into consideration, enabling them to use audio, video and image files, as well as using serious games to improve their cognitive ability and prevent other potential problems.