Video chats from car­ers

Scottish Daily Mail - - News -

PA­TIENTS who are cared for at home are be­ing mon­i­tored through video chats in­stead of vis­its from trained car­ers.

Un­der the con­tro­ver­sial coun­cil-funded trial, el­derly pa­tients in Es­sex speak to car­ers via an app on Sam­sung Galaxy tablets.

It is ‘a more con­ve­nient and… less in­tru­sive method of in­ter­act­ing with a care worker, friends and fam­ily,’ claim the county coun­cil and care firm Es­sex Cares.

But crit­ics said it sug­gested pa­tients were a bur­den on loved ones and the state. They warned of the risks of re­mov­ing faceto-face con­tact un­der the cost-cut­ting mea­sure, par­tic­u­larly as 1.1mil­lion over65s are said to be chron­i­cally lonely in the UK.

Dr Helen Stokes-Lam­pard, of the Royal Col­lege of GPs, said: ‘So­cial iso­la­tion and lone­li­ness are akin to a chronic long-term con­di­tion in terms of the im­pact they have on our pa­tients’ health and well­be­ing.’

But Es­sex Cares said the method ‘will hope­fully en­able more peo­ple to live as in­de­pen­dently as pos­si­ble’. County coun­cil­lor John Spence added it was im­por­tant to ‘keep pace with new tech­nol­ogy’.

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