Mark Smith, Senior Account Manager, Tunstall Healthcare UK, writes about his visit to the Tunstall proactive telecare service in Spain.

I was lucky enough to recently visit Tunstall Televida in Barcelona (one of the leading Spanish cities for providing Tunstall telecare), to understand their proactive telecare services with the intention of applying this learning for use in the UK market.

Tunstall Televida supports more than 250,000 people who are older and/or have long-term care needs across Spain. The model (called the teleassistance model in Spain) combines telecare monitoring and response, coordinates social care and third party services and delivers proactive outbound contact. In fact more than 60% of the 16 million calls Tunstall Televida handles each year are outbound.

The Tunstall Televida centre delivers a variety of functions, striving to go above and beyond with their connected care services. These include:

  • Companionship and care. Operators make regular calls to check on the individual’s wellbeing in addition to responding when an alarm is triggered. This aims to prevent them from feeling isolated and alone, giving them more of a sense of security.
  • Calling individuals with information on extreme temperatures and weather warnings. This information helps older people know when they need to activate their air conditioning or central heating, and plan ahead for any trips outside.
  • Custom reminders. Operators will call to remind people when to take their medicine or to attend appointments.
  • Specific procedures for domestic violence, suicide or mourning. Staff are trained to deal with a wide range of circumstances, including receiving calls from someone being mistreated or feeling depressed.
  • Public Health advice and information. Tunstall Televida works with the council and other public services to support various initiatives such as giving advice on health issues relevant to individuals. This includes how to prevent the spread of flu, ways of dealing with air pollution, or how to prevent allergies.
  • Managing other care services. Tunstall staff offer help to oversee additional services, such as food or medicine delivery to the home.
  • Assistance with administration tasks. Staff assist the individuals they support with daily tasks such as paying bills or filling in forms.
  • Responding to major disasters – Tunstall staff help people when disasters such as flooding affect them.

This service in Spain focuses on increasing the user’s quality of life, enabling self-care and maintaining their independence. Including prevention in the delivery model has also significantly reduced the number of emergency service episodes, making more effective use of public services.

In the UK, we have the structure of the control centre and services already in place, and the public health agenda is now well positioned to commission these types of services. The evidence of the financial impact of these services is crucial in these times of austerity, but equally the impact of feeling supported by someone when you need it the most – it is a public service that’s priceless.

View the full Tunstall Televida case study.

Photo: CareChat – a mobile app used in Spain for supporting people with communication difficulties with pictograms and text