The elderly population in the UK is increasing at a rate never seen before. It is estimated that by 2037 the population over the age of 80 will double to over 6 million. The number of people over 75 will represent a staggering 13% of the UK population.
This will undoubtedly lead to an increase demand for services such as those supplied by careline alarm providers. There has been much written about how this rise in the elderly population will increase the burden on an already stretched NHS.
But it is also true to say that the private sector is also set to benefit considerably from this increase. Companies in the UK are already tapping into the silver market, especially when it comes to healthcare. Companies such as Apple and Samsung are preparing tech savvy forty-year-olds to monitor their key health indicators on wearable technology such as the Apple watch.
This is no doubt in preparation for when this generation requires a more in-depth monitoring of their healthcare requirements in later years and will therefore embrace technology to so do.
As a result, on a more basic level, there has been a significant increase in the number of companies entering the healthcare sector, specifically with a view to addressing the healthcare requirements of the elderly population.
One of the industries to see a significant increase in the number of companies becoming careline providers careline or telecare sector. Invariably someone will purchase an alarm for an elderly relative to help them stay in their own home rather than enter the lottery of a care home.
There are currently around 1.7 million people using a careline alarm in their private home. You may even be in the process of ordering a careline alarm for yourself.
This article aims to provide information as to how the industry works and which companies provide such services on a national level. But first let’s explain how careline alarm providers in the industry works and who oversees the many organizations working within it.
In the following section you will find an explanation into the trade body for the telecare industry, key equipment manufacturers plus an overview of each segment of the careline industry with an example organization representing each sector.
Telecare Services Association Careline providers are overseen by an industry body called the TSA (Telecare Services Association).
The TSA promotes the use of telecare to commissioners of social care, government and end service users. The members of the Telecare Services Association range from careline alarm providers, Local Authorities along with key manufacturers and suppliers.
Accredited members agree to achieve the requirements as set out in the TSA Code of Practice for Telecare and Telehealth provision known as British Standard BS8521. This code of practice outlines how a careline alarm service should be operated and covers aspects such as:
- Organizational and Clinical Governance
- Staff and Training
- Information Governance
- Technology Management
- Key Performance Indicators
- Careline Alarm Manufacturers
The current technology used in careline alarms could be described rudimentary when compared to mainstream technologies available today; however, the technology used in careline alarms today is proven to be both reliable and fit for purpose.
However, manufacturers are gradually producing equipment to enhance the aesthetics and usability of the devices to keep pace with the recent developments of the telecare industry. Telehealth continues to loom on the horizon as the natural replacement for telecare, yet the mass adoption of telehealth is currently fairly limited in the UK.
The UK has three major players for telecare equipment although there are many other suppliers to the industry for supplemental equipment or software. We are just going to highlight the three primary companies.
Tunstall are the largest manufacturer of telecare equipment globally with a presence in Europe, Australasia, U.S and Asia. Current careline alarm models include the Lifeline Vi and the Lifeline GSM that is designed to assist people who don’t have a landline installed in their home.
Tunstall also produce a range of accessories such as flood detectors and fall sensors to complement their range. Tynetec have been producing telecare equipment for some 30 years and have recently been purchased by the French company Legrand.
They are fast becoming a major player in the UK telecare industry experiencing huge success with their Reach and Reach+ careline alarm units due to its contemporary styling and reliability. Careium (formerly Doro Care) A major player in the European telecare marketplace, Careium are now making large strides in the UK.
A recent announcement relating to their partnership with BT Cornwall has seen their profile raised considerably in the UK. As with some of their competitors, Careium are currently enjoying great success with Local Authorities purchasing their CareIP careline alarm that works on the GSM network rather than a landline.
Careline Provider Segmentation
Local Authority Careline Operators
Many Local Authorities offer a careline service in some shape or form. Generally, each Authority is focused on providing careline services for residents within their District and work closely with their colleagues in Adult Social Services and CCG’s.
Some Local Authority careline services will offer a subsidised package, however this is often means tested. Some Local Authorities will have their own 24/7 call centre whilst economics dictate that some subcontract this element out to a larger authority or a national provider.
Very few of the Local Authorities offer careline services outside their borough as a commercial proposition.
Housing Association Careline Services
There are a number of providers who are careline operators providing an alarm service in a social housing environment or directly to residents of retirement properties.
There are many Social Housing enterprises in the UK who offer accommodation to elderly people. As a result, these companies must offer a careline service to their elderly residents. These organizations normally include the charge of delivering a careline service in the resident’s monthly rental charge.
Some Housing Associations provide 24/7 monitoring in-house whilst others use a third party.
Multi Product Careline Providers
Some commercial and charitable organizations offer careline alarms as part of a larger portfolio of products and services to the elderly.
Typically, these organizations offer services such as insurance, pension plans and travel packages. Careline services offered by these organizations are often subcontracted out to another national careline provider but carrying the organizations brand under a “white label arrangement”.
Sole Careline Alarm Providers
The last few years has seen an increase in the number of private companies entering the careline or telecare market. These organizations are solely focused on providing careline alarm services on a national level to private paying individuals.
For many this option is ideal as they live at home and wish to remain independent and prefer not to use Social Services or their Local Authority. The advantage of these providers is that they are purely focused on delivering careline services to consumers who wish to purchase an alarm privately rather than the Local Authority route.
These services tend to be competitively priced and offer a comprehensive delivery and installation service due to the scale of their operation. Examples of organizations and Companies within Careline Industry
Local Authority Careline Alarm Providers
Bristol Careline is run by Bristol City Council. They have their very own 24/7 control centre and are fully regulated by the TSA. Anyone within the Bristol area can apply for a careline alarm and they offer a full demonstration and installation service. Bristol Careline also offers an enhanced Careline Plus service whereby you can be visited by a warden.
Housing Association Careline Alarm Providers
Magna Housing Association provides housing solutions mainly across Devon and Cornwall. Magna provided a careline alarm service for all their vulnerable residents and were monitored by their in-house careline operation.
However, Magna Careline has recently been purchased by Medvivo and has been renamed Medvivo Careline, therefore at the time of publishing this article there were no published pricing plans available for the revamped service.
Multi Product organizations that are Careline Alarm Providers
Saga has offered the 50+ population insurance and travel services for the last 30 years and they continue to dominate the market.
In recent years they have expanded their range of products under a white label arrangement, including Saga SOS which is their branded careline service. The service is provided by a third party, carrying the Saga brand.
Sole Careline Alarm Providers
Telecare24 are one of the leading careline alarm providers in the private pay market. Working alongside Dr Hilary Jones they keep things fairly simple – easy to use alarms and pendants – monthly or annual.
They offer a national installation service where an engineer can install the alarm and a key safe if that’s ordered as well or it can be delivered by a courier and plugged in.