An estimated 250 elderly people have survived a danger to life thanks to the Tele-Angel initiative in Malopolska Region. These people live alone, suffer from a chronic disease and feel endangered with daily tasks like shopping or preparing a meal. By calling a Telecare Centre they were able to get help when other forms of intervention were impossible.
- Tele-Angel is another project that proves that Malopolska not only considers but also takes care of the residents and their families in a practical way, says Łukasz Smółka, the Deputy Marshal of the Malopolska Region.
If looked at through a general lens, the challenge of supporting an ageing population becomes overwhelming, especially for decision-makers. The region of Malopolska has decided to face this challenge as if it concerned a neighbour, aunt or grandfather. By changing the perspective, steps to create an entire ecosystem became manageable.
Neighbour assistance helps overcome loneliness
One of the pillars of the Tele-Angel initiative is neighbour assistance. It is a programme where a neighbour for a small sum of money prepares a meal, cleans the apartment or does the grocery shopping for a care recipient, depending on the needs of each person.
In addition, the social aspect support is crucial, especially as isolation of elderly people has become difficult to overcome. Many beneficiaries and their neighbour companions emphasise that the opportunity to talk is the most important aspect of the assistance in the Covid19 reality.
- Tele-Angel is a project fit for the 21st century. It supports healthy ageing and enables older people to enjoy an independent and good quality of life. It can permanently change the situation of seniors in our region and even in the country, says Łukasz Smółka.
The project also offers care services provided at the place of residence by qualified care givers for bedridden people, as well as free training for carers and neighbours, increasing their qualifications and improving their situation on the labour marked.
First regional solution financed by public funds
The Malopolska Tele-Angel is the first regional solution financed by public funds in Poland. It is based on good practices observed in other countries that had already developed similar systems. Not all solutions were possible for transfer but they were used as an inspiration for designing a system for Malopolska.
Each care recipient gets an e-care band called LifeWristband, an SOS button, a GPS module, a fall detector and a direct connection with the TeleCare Centre which is situated in Sucha Beskidzka, about 60 kilometres south-east of Krakow. The personnel answers around 250 calls a day. Since the launch of the Centre, they have spent over 12.000 hours on phone with the care recipients.
The growing need for social care and e-health services opens new questions related to develop the existing telecare system. More and more care recipients expect some medical support from the Tele-Angel solution. This is a challenge because a lot of European regions and countries struggle with combining healthcare and social care because of two different sources of financing those types of services.
A team of experts and decision-makers is working on the best solution that could be implemented in the nearest future.
The "Malopolska Tele-Angel" project is implemented as a part of the Regional Operational Programme for the Malopolska Region 2014-2020 and co-financed by the European Social Fund.