Justin Madders MP for Ellesmere Port & Neston and Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care) visited Lancashire-based Progress Housing Group to see first-hand the amazing impact technology enabled care can have on people’s lives.

The visit, organised by Tunstall Healthcare, the leading provider of connected healthcare solutions and kindly hosted by social housing provider Progress Housing Group, enabled Justin to see the technology in action and meet three service users to hear their stories.

Justin met Carol and her assistance dog Charlie, the Labrador, who has been trained to press the Lifeline emergency button when Carol requires assistance. After calling for help, he will continue to help Carol by licking, barking and sometimes cheekily checking his owner’s pockets for hidden treats. Carol said: “The Progress Lifeline service is so reassuring - it takes the worry away from living on your own”.

Justin was keen to see the range of telecare solutions and hear what happens at the Monitoring Centre when a call for help has been raised via the technology. Justin said: “Technology has the capacity to enhance people’s lives and allow them to remain independent for as long as possible. Not only does it have the potential to relieve the workforce challenge in health and social care, but it may also lead to less pressure on acute services by providing alternatives methods of care and support in the home.”

Justin also met Lynda who recently had a stroke and relies on telecare technology to keep her safe as she suffers from blackouts. Lynda said: “It’s brilliant as it not only supports me night and day, but also allows my husband to stop worrying and keep doing his hobbies outside of the home”.

Cuts to funding in recent years have placed huge pressures on health and social care services, leading councils to examine ways of providing these services in a different way.

In Lancashire, Tunstall was appointed Development Partner in 2015, working with Progress Housing Group to guide and shape the way adult social care services are delivered. Telecare is supporting over 7,500 people with around 350 referrals per month, and is just part of an integrated care model, across social care, housing and health, which is preventing, reducing or delaying the need for health and care services, improving people’s outcomes and giving carers peace of mind.

Bernie Keenan, Progress Housing Group’s Executive Director for Services & Growth added: “As well as providing monitoring and response services to over 30,000 people, Progress Housing Group is the largest supported living provider in England for people with a learning disability and autism. There is a growing awareness that more can be done with technology for a wide range of individuals”.

“Technology Enabled Care helps to improve the quality of life for people by enabling them to remain in their own homes as well as giving peace of mind to their friends and family. It not only puts people at the centre of the service we provide but also helps to prevent incidents from happening or seriously escalating”. Loraine Simpson, Head of Technology Enabled Care and Support Services for Progress Housing Group

Steve Tope, Business Development Manager at Tunstall commented: “The partnership approach across health, housing and social care in Lancashire is key, but equally important is the investment in training and awareness for frontline care and NHS discharge teams to improve the knowledge of what can be achieved with the appropriate use of technology”.