14 April 2022
The Community Alarm System (CAS) is being upgraded to a digital system as part of a drive by Health and Community Services to deliver more care in Islanders' homes.
About 1,040 Islanders are subscribed to the current analogue system, which automatically calls for help when a service user presses an emergency button. However, the system, which is currently in operation, has not been updated for many years and due to difficulties in finding the necessary parts to fix broken alarms, along with advances in technology, it needs to be replaced.
The Government of Jersey ran a competitive tender to identify the most suitable partner to provide the new Community Alarm System. A three-year contract has been now awarded to Airtel-Vodafone who will take over running the service from Jersey Telecom in June 2022.
There will be no disruption to the Community Alarm System during the transition between providers or while the upgrades are taking place.
Digital technology, which offers multiple connectivity methods including mobile network, Wifi and battery backup, has a greater resilience than the analogue system. The new digital telecare system can still operate during power or network outages, it is future-proof and offers an enhanced call quality. The new system can also provide additional reassurance to a service user's family and friends by offering secure monitoring through a mobile app.
The technology can support people following their discharge from hospital, enabling them to be monitored in the familiar surroundings of their own home, aiding their recuperation and meaning they do not have to stay in hospital longer than necessary.
In the future, service users can choose to add devices to their package, which will support them to retain their independence for longer, better monitor their health and wellbeing as well as help to reduce the amount of support they may need at home. Devices which can be added include falls sensors, motion sensors and pill dispensers. These devices report on activities for daily living. For example, a smart plug on a kettle could send an alert to a family member using the app if the appliance has not been used for a period of time.
The switch to the new technology will mean the monthly charge for the 792 Islanders who currently pay for the Community Alarm will rise. However, to help support current paying customers, the Government of Jersey will subsidise their monthly bill for the next three years.
The subsidy means that the monthly charge for customers will remain at £10.50 until 30 June 2023. It will then rise incrementally every 12 months until 2025.
The 244 Islanders whose subscription for the Community Alarm System is paid for by HCS will continue not to be charged.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "Upgrading the Community Alarm System means that we can better support Islanders to live as independently as possible within their own homes – a key objective of the Jersey Care Model programme.
"The use of innovative technology marks an exciting new chapter for health and social care in Jersey as it enables people to tailor their alarm system to their own particular needs and also provides reassurance to family and friends that their loved one is safe and well."
Peter Zunino, Head of Sales and Marketing from Airtel-Vodafone, added: "The new digital home hub and integrated digital telecare platform is more than just a new and improved social alarm system.
"It offers a more proactive approach to healthcare with prevention at its heart, by detecting and reporting on possible wellbeing related issues in the home before a potential emergency occurs. We are delighted to be working with the Government of Jersey to improve outcomes for family, friends and health and social care providers whilst giving the individual the confidence, comfort and independence that this technology brings."