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Red Button Telecare Service

Summary

Description

Operational Information

Evaluation

More Info

Summary

Red Button is a telecare emergency service, established in 2007 and run by a private company, MKS, in many Slovenian areas. The service, which costs €25/month, consists of a phone that can be activated by a button or by various triggers such as smoke, water or fall.

The service targets older people who live alone at home and their informal and formal carers and runs nonstop, 24 hours, seven days a week: it is co-financed by the users (20%) and Local Authorities (80%). So far more than 800 users have received the service.

Professionals running the service belong to the health and social services even if it is supported by MKS for technical aspects.

Several articles were published on telecare services delivered by MKS in Slovenia, but no impact assessment was carried out about Red Button. Thus the possible effects of the service on end users, labour market and National Health System are evaluated by the MKS Director.

Description
refers to the target users, kind of service provided, ICTs typologies and devices used

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Red Button Telecare Service
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Slovenia
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01-08-2007
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Red Button is an ICT-based Telecare service aiming to:

  • obtain help when needed.

  • enable older, functionally limited and chronically ill people to safely live independently at home and to maintain their social and support networks. To reassure this same group of people, their family and informal carers.

  • lower the costs of home care (health care, home nursing, home assistance etc.).

  • lower the need for institutionalisation.

 

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The service’s main motivation is to improve the care recipient’s independence, safety and self-confidence. It intends to provide emergency support in real-time and to allow informal carers to have some respite and be contacted only in case of need. Another important driver is the current policy makers’ goal to include older people and help their carers through ICT.

 

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Yes Care Recipients
Yes Informal carers
Yes Paid assistants
Yes Formal carers

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Not available

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Yes Independent Living
No Information and learning for carers
Yes Personal Support and Social Integration for carer
No Care coordination

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Red Button: provides support 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, for independent living and reassurance of care recipients; provides information for and support of informal carers; alerts formal carers in case of an emergency.

Red Button is based on a care phone installed at a user’s home. Users can wear or carry a radio trigger device that, when pressed, activates the device and contacts a response centre. The person in need is then able to tell the operator of the nature of his/her problem and the operator is then able to give advice or reassurance and, depending on the circumstances, contact relatives.
The care phone may also be activated automatically by other triggers like a smoke, flood, heat or cold detector or even a fall detector. A part of the system is also an electronic medication reminder that alerts a person when to take medications. It triggers a call to the response centre if pills are not taken on time.

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Kind of technological supports used by carers and/or care recipients:

-care-phone which is a radio trigger device that can be activated by pressing a button during emergencies.

-fall, smoke and flood detectors;

-medication reminder (if requested).

 

Operational Information
refers to the type of funding, budget, sustainability and organisations involved

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Both public and private
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Public service funding: Government, Regional, Local Authorities, non-profit public entities
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Not available

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Private out of pocket: users pay the service by themselves
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Users pay 25€/months

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Trading practices:

The service has been available at a starting price of €25/months in some regions of Slovenia.

Operational processes:

Once the device is activated by the older person, a monitoring and response centre is contacted. The person then tells the operator the nature of the problem. The operator gives advice or reassurance, contacts informal carers, neighbors or the relevant emergency services. The care-phone may also be activated automatically by other triggers such as smoke, water, heat, cold or a fall, detected by a sensor. A part of the system is also an electronic medication reminder alerting the care recipient. It triggers a call to the response centre if pills are not taken on time.

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The sustainability depends on three factors: the contribution of the Local Authorities, the usefulness of the service, the satisfaction of users.

Firstly, Local Communities seems to have the willingness to continue supporting the service.

Furthermore, to demonstrate the service usefulness, an internet-based solution has been developed recently that returns the user’s data on calls collected by Red Button to him/her through an interactive IP-based TV (http://www.mks.si/eng/Data_on_TV.html):in this way, the interaction between users and response centre is enhanced. Users feel monitored and reassured and the service becomes more effective . This solution was part of the “IRIS smart home”.

Finally, the number of users increased very much in the last two years and this leads to think that the service is appreciated and that it has good chances to reach new users available to pay for it in a near future.

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Not available

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Yes Authorities
Yes Private Care Sector
No Health and Social Care Systems
No Third Sector
Yes Private Companies

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Not available

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Not involved
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Yes Informal Carers
Yes Health Professionals
Yes Social Care Professionals
Yes Privately-Hired Care Assistants (inc. Migrant Care Workers)
No Volunteers

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Health and Social professionals read the data collected by sensors, answer the emergency calls, contact informal or formal carers.

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Not involved

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501 - 1,000
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More than 800 users in March 2014.

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Strategies to promote the service are part of the projects in which MKS is a partner.

The company has been involved in designing and setting up the “IRIS smart home”, that is a way through which the company promotes itself.

IRIS smart home is a demonstration apartment and clinical research facility (ambient assisted living lab) located at the Rehabilitation Institute of Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana, The apartment is fitted with equipment and technical aids, from simple to advanced, assisting older people and those with various functional limitations.

MKS was also active in establishing the first home telemedicine network in Slovenia (2006-present) and has expertise in information security management (ISO/IEC 27001 standard). The manager of MKS runs several activities to promote telecare in Slovenia such as graduate student courses at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine on “Home telemedicine and telecare”. Although Small Medium Enterprise (SME) by nature, MKS contributes to strategic policies addressing people with functional limitations in Slovenia (e.g. “eHealth 2010 in Slovenia” agenda, Elderly in Slovenia by 2010 strategy).

Between 2002 and 2007 the company organized several promotion events in Slovenia, such as workshops on ICTs services for old and disabled persons.

Evaluation
refers to the impact of the service on end-users, care organisations and authorities

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Although there is not impact assessment, in the opinion of Mr Drago Rudel, MKS Director, the service can positively affect the quality of life of:

- Informal carers, as it helps them maintain peace of mind, because they know that their loved ones are monitored 24/7 and that they can be alerted in case of need. This can lead to more time for relief and leisure.

- Paid assistants, as it is an additional eye on the old person and they can be relieved.

- Older people, as it helps live independently and safely.

Another benefit: is the acceptability of ICT by informal carers and older care recipients (Rudel, 2014).

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The service could positively impact on:

- Private organisations that provide care, as it helps to save costs and optimise resources.

- Companies and the labour market, as it allows the informal carer to reconcile paid work and caring tasks by avoiding added costs for substituting/replacing the worker who has to stay at home with the care recipient (Rudel, 2014).

 

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The service could positively affect public authorities, National Health System and social services by helping save the costs of home caring and hospitalisation. In this way the service helps to optimise financial and human resources (Rudel, 2014).

 

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Strengths:

  1. So far more than 800 users have been enjoying the benefits of Red Button and this can be deemed as a signal of helpfulness and appreciation by users.

Weaknesses

  1. The service has been not evaluated in terms of effects on users, labour market and National Health System.

Opportunities:

  1. There is no need of training for using the system and this could facilitate access and help gain new users also among those who are not digitally literate.

Threats:

  1. The lack of evidence of the positive effects of the service could decrease the amount of funding by Local Authorities, especially in time of economical crisis.

 

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At present the service has a local coverage and it is not fully integrated in the whole Slovenia national territory. The company has no plan for scaling-up and transfer the service in the short term.

 

More Information
includes contacts, publications and accompanying documents

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Resources:

www.mks.si/eng/

www.dom-iris.si/en/

References:

Updating by Mr Drago Rudel, MKS Director, in March 2014

Publications:

Fisk MJ and Rudel D. Telehealth and Service Delivery in the Home: Care, Support and the Importance of User Autonomy. In: George C, Whitehouse D, Duquenoy P, editors. eHealth: legal, ethical and goverance challenges. Heidelberg: Springer, 2013; 211-25.

Rudel D, Fisk M. New potentials of telecommunication technologies potential in the healthcare service frameworks. In: Kovačić L, Zaletel-Kragelj L, editors. Management in health care practice: a handbook for teachers, researchers and health professionals. Lage: Hans Jacobs publishing Company, 2008; 318-28.

Rudel D, Fisk M. Exploring the potential of new telecommunication technologies to underpin healthcare service frameworks - Understanding the Slovene experience through a case study of the ‘Lifeline’ ’telecare service for older people’. AIM 2005; 13(2):75-9.

Rudel D, Fisk M. Can users of personal response systems in Slovenia benefit from the 3rd genertion technology?. Proc.6th AAATE 2001 Conf.-Assistive technology – added value to the quality of life, Č.Marinček, C.Buehler, H.Knops, R.Andrich (Eds.). IOS Press, 2001; 734-7.

 

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Address:

MKS Electronic Systems Ltd.

Rozna dolina c. XVII/22b

SI 1000 Ljubljana

Slovenija, EU

For information:
E-mail: info@msk.si

Telephone:

00386 1 256 22 43

00386 1 256 22 44

Fax: 00386 1 256 22 44

Director: Dr. Drago Rudel, El. Eng.