Obtaining telecare

Obtaining telecare

This page explains different ways you may be able to obtain telecare, including possible provision via social services, the NHS, supported housing and options for self purchase.

Provision via your local Social Care Services

If you feel that you need support (which may, or may not include telecare) to help live at home, you can request for your local social care services to carry out an 'assessment of need' or community care assessment. If you are caring for someone you can also request for your and / or their needs to be assessed. During an 'assessment of need' a trained worker will discuss with you any problems or difficulties you may experience to identify your needs. If you agree they may also talk to other people involved in your care such as your family, carer, or GP.

Depending on your assessed level of need and your social care services eligibility criteria, they will decide whether they can offer you with community services and / or equipment to help meet your needs. This equipment may include telecare services if appropriate. If you do not meet your social care services eligibility criteria, they should be able to give you details of other organisations that may be able to assist you. Provision will vary between local authorities.

For further information and advice contact your local authority social care services department. You can obtain contact details on the GOV.UK website.

Provision via the NHS

Telecare services are sometimes provided by the NHS following an assessment and as part of continuing health care or intermediate care services. For example, the provision may be designed to prevent your admission to hospital or support your discharge from hospital. However, provision will vary across NHS trusts. For further information and advice visit the NHS Choices website

Provision in Supported housing

If you live in, or move to, supported, sheltered or group housing there may be telecare devices and services already in place. If not, you may be able to access community alarm and telecare services through your housing provider. Provision will vary across housing providers, contact the organisation providing your housing for further information and advice.


Some of the simple equipment which is not part of a telecare system such as the key safes and memo minders can be bought relatively cheaply from nation-wide stores or specialist suppliers (If you have a disability and purchase equipment to assist with your disability you may be eligible for VAT exemption*). However, we recommend that you seek the advice of a health or social care professional if you are thinking about using assistive technology.

* For more information on VAT exemption visit the HM Revenue & Customs, VAT for disabled people webpage

Relatively simple telecare packages or community alarm systems are available to buy privately with an initial lump sum for the equipment and an ongoing monthly fee for the service which covers the monitoring / help centre receiving any alarm calls you make. These packages usual consist of a control box / base unit and a personal alarm button.

For a list of companies offering telecare packages or community alarm systems to buy / rent privately
For a list of national telecare service providers who can provide monitoring and response services

View equipment before you buy

Several local authorities and housing agencies have set up demonstration centres to provide you with opportunities to view and try assistive technology devices and obtain advice from experienced staff about products which may be suitable for you. To find out if there are any demonstration sites in your area, you can contact your local authority social care services or housing department. You can obtain contact details on the GOV.UK website.

Disabled and Independent Living Centres also provide information and advice on assistive equipment and opportunities to view and try assistive technology devices. Visit the Disabled Living Foundation's webpage Equipment Demonstration Centres in the UK to find for your nearest centre.

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement