The charity’s ambulance operations team began delivering the Telecare Response Service in Wolverhampton last month, with specially trained St John Ambulance staff on hand to help in crisis situations.
Telecare is a service which uses a range of technologies to enable remote monitoring of risks within the home, helping vulnerable people or those with disabilities to remain safe and independent for longer.
In the event a problem is detected, sensors connected to a special telephone raise an alert to the Telecare monitoring centre, which can arrange help if required.
The Telecare Response Service was introduced in 2016 to help reduce demand on 999 emergency services, prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital and enable people to feel even more safe and secure in their own homes.
St John Ambulance took over the contract from West Midlands Fire Service on 3 April and has already responded to over 400 calls in that time, with the majority relating to falls in which the individual does not suffer an injury. Customers have reported high satisfaction levels and have praised the professionalism of the St John Ambulance responders.
One 84 year old, who used to volunteer for St John Ambulance with her sisters in the 1950s, praised the responders for helping her when she fell over, while a 91-year-old said the responders were very friendly and arrived quickly to help her off the floor and check she was okay – and was particularly pleased that they took the time to make her a cup of tea before leaving!
Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "We are delighted to be partnering with St John Ambulance to deliver the mobile response service element of our Telecare service, and it is pleasing that we're receiving some really good feedback from customers.
“Telecare plays a vital role to help people live more independently, providing peace of mind and reassurance to customers and their families. The response service is an important part of this, and we look forward to continuing to work with St John Ambulance in Wolverhampton to deliver it."
St John Ambulance responders are trained to provide immediate first aid and establish clinical need and are equipped with specialist moving and handling equipment to help people who may have had a fall. If necessary, they will also refer individuals to agencies for additional support to ensure they can continue to live independently.
More than 5,200 people in Wolverhampton currently receive the Telecare service, which is provided by Wolverhampton Homes on behalf of the City of Wolverhampton Council, with the control centre receiving over 44,000 calls every year from people who may need help or advise at a time of crisis.
Telecare is available to everyone, with packages to suit a range of requirements and budgets. They are:
- Level 1 (£3 per week): The standard Telecare service comprising of an alarm unit, pendant, keysafe and smoke detector. This universal service is available to people who have two responders who hold a key to their property and agree to respond to an emergency at any time. They could be a family member, neighbour or friend
- Level 2 (£5 per week): As Level 1 but including access to the Telecare Response Service provided by St John Ambulance which will visit the customer’s property as required
- Level 3 (£7 per week): As Level 1, but with a range of additional Telecare detectors and sensors appropriate to the customer’s needs. Like Level 1, this service is available to people who have 2 responders - either a family member, neighbour, carer or friend - who agree to respond to an emergency call as required
- Level 4 (£9 per week): As level 3, but with access to the Telecare Response Service
In addition, Telecare is free to people in receipt of certain benefits and free during a period of reablement support or to prevent a hospital admission.