Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Understanding the Value of a Proactive Telecare...


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Understanding the Value of a Proactive Telecare System in Supporting Older Adults’ Independence at Home: Qualitative Interview Study Among Key Interest Groups

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article numbere47997
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/12/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Medical Internet Research
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Telecare is claimed to support people to live in their own homes for longer by providing monitoring services that enable responses to emergencies at home. Although most telecare technologies commissioned in the United Kingdom predominantly supply reactive services, there has been recent interest among policy makers to develop proactive telecare services to provide additional understanding of older adults’ health and well-being needs to provide a means for more preventive interventions. Proactive telecare refers to providing regular well-being calls or encouraging users to regularly confirm their well-being to anticipate and prevent crises through an increased understanding of individuals’ needs and by building social relationships with older adults. Such technologies have already begun to be introduced, yet little research has explored the potential value of proactive telecare.

This study explores the perceptions of different interest groups to understand the extent to which using a proactive telecare service can support older adults to live independently, what potential health and well-being benefits may be elicited from its use, and what the limitations are.

Semistructured interviews were conducted with older people (those with experience in using proactive telecare and those without), family members of proactive telecare users, and proactive telecare staff regarding their perceptions and opinions about the value of a proactive telecare service. Data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis.

A total of 30 individuals participated in this study. Older adults described the value of proactive telecare in feeling safe and in control and appreciated feeling connected. Family members and staff valued the potential to detect early health deterioration in older adults, and all participants highlighted the benefit of strengthening access to social networks, particularly for socially isolated older people. However, telecare is often viewed as a last resort, and therefore, anticipatory care may not suit all populations, as demonstrated by the mixed acceptance of the technology among older adults who did not have experience using it. Participants also reported limitations, including the requirement for family, friends, or neighbors to assist older adults during an emergency and the need for financial resources to fund the service.

This study presents the first known qualitative inquiry about a proactive telecare system, which provides rich and detailed insights from different perspectives into the potential benefits of this intervention. Proactive telecare may promote and facilitate the accumulation of social and technological resources as individuals prepare to cope with age-related challenges, thus helping to avoid negative outcomes prematurely. However, similar to reactive telecare, proactive telecare must be matched to individual preferences and existing financial and social resources.