What is telecare?

What is telecare?

Telecare consists of equipment and services that support your safety and independence in your own home. The equipment can sense risks such as smoke, floods and gas, can remind you to take pills and even call for help if you fall. A help centre can be contacted automatically if any of these problems occur in your home. If needed the help centre can arrange for someone to come to your home or can contact your family, doctor or emergency services. The system can also warn you of problems by sounding an alarm, flashing lights or vibrating a box which can be kept in your pocket or under your pillow.

Telehealth covers the electronic exchange of personal health data from a patient at home to medical staff at hospital or similar site to assist in diagnosis and monitoring. Examples include monitoring and support for people with a heart condition, lung function problems or diabetes.

There are several other definitions of telecare and telehealth available. A common definition used in government publications, by Tunstall and discussed on the Telecare aware website is:

Telecare is the continuous, automatic and remote monitoring of real time emergencies and lifestyle changes over time in order to manage the risks associated with independent living.

For more definitions of telecare visit Telecare Aware

There is debate over whether the term 'telecare' should only refer to devices that connect to a remote service3. However, alarms and sensors that designed to increase your safety in your home can be either:

  • Part of a Telecare system that automatically sends a signal to a carer, community alarm or monitoring service to call for assistance when it is needed
  • 'Stand alone' devices you or, your carer use within your home and not linked to a community alarm or monitoring centre or..

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


  1. Department of Health 2012  Prevention and early intervention: the technology of independence
    View reference   Last visited:  15/08/2012 Evidence type: 2
  2. Doughty, K., Monk, A., Bayliss, C., Brown, C., Dewsbury, L., Dunk, B., Gallagher, V., Grafham, K., Jones, M., Lowe, C., McAlister, L., McSorley, K., Mills, P., Skidmore, C., Stewart, A., Taylor, B. and Ward, D. 2007  Telecare, telehealth and assistive technologies - do we know what we're talking about?
    Journal of Assistive Technologies   Vol.1 (2)   p6-10 Evidence type: 2
  3. Hards, S. 2012  What is Telecare?
    View reference   Last visited:  15/08/2012 Evidence type: 1