Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Undertaking positive risks to maintain independence.

Restrictions in social care and health funding now mean that older people and adults with long term conditions or disabilities are being actively encouraged to increase their independence, for example by managing their own support, travelling independently, and being fully involved in mainstream society through education, work and leisure.

To support people to have greater choice and control of their lives, to travel independently or take part in everyday activities means accepting there are risks that cannot be avoided but can be minimised and prepared for.

This is commonly known as ‘positive risk taking’.

Date. 18 Oct 2020


One possible definition (and perhaps one of the more shorter definitions!) for positive risk-taking is: Individual adults who use social care and support services and/or their carers should be able to make their own decisions and take risks which they deem to be acceptable to lead their lives their way. (Close 2009)

The saying “nothing ventured, nothing gained” makes the point that unless someone takes a risk and tries new activities, they will never know of the positive benefits that might result. For many people taking risks is an accepted part of life. However people with a disability and older people are often discouraged from taking risks, either because of their perceived limitations or fear that they or others might be harmed.

A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights how ‘positive risk-taking’ is important for even the most challenging long-term conditions, such as dementia: How can positive risk taking help build dementia friendly communities

So, in accepting the above, we must therefore focus attention on safeguarding and providing safety mechanisms to support such activities:

“Do they have confidence to leave the house?”

It’s difficult to deny the positive effects of regular physical activity. Throw in a bit of fresh air and social interaction, and getting out of the house becomes a crucial part of independent living. People should be given the confidence and freedom to get out of the house without needing someone to take them out all the time.

“Does someone know where they have gone?”

Whether they like to walk the dog in the morning, go to the newsagents, visit the library or regularly attend their support groups. Knowing when someone has left their home, returned or where they are at unexpected time, not only provides safety for the person but also reassurance for the Carer.

“Are they likely to get confused when out in the community?”

Anxiety and panic attacks can come on fast when people are in crowded or unfamiliar places. The ability to speak directly to someone that can help if they become lost or distressed provides great reassurance.

“Are they at risk from falls or seizures?”

Over 40% of falls occur outside of the home; a simple falls-sensor can raise an automatic alert in the event of a fall.

“Do they need to take regular medication?”

Many pill dispensers are great for the home but are often large of cumbersome to carry. When people are out and about it is still important to have regular reminders for medication or activities.

We know the outcomes that people want for themselves: maintaining their own health, a sense of personal well-being and leading an independent life. There is also a strong desire from care providers for more help to support people to maintain their independence and feel part of society, with more emphasis on tackling loneliness and isolation, especially for older people, vulnerable people and those caring for others.

How can Mobile Telecare help?

It is now increasingly common for people to be equipped with mobile services across a wide variety of scenarios. Mobile telecare services provide the freedom to be at home and in the community while being safe. It enables them to request assistance when they feel vulnerable or to be triggered automatically (i.e. fall-sensor), inside and outside the home. Telecare providers manage these requests and can now speak directly to the user, passing on all relevant information to the appropriate response services – no matter where they are!

Because it’s mobile, vulnerable people can lead freer, happier lives. Josephine’s story illustrates the service well and what it means for her life:

As Josephine says, “its allowed me to get out, … without having to rely on people to take me out all the time“.

As Josephine says, “its allowed me to get out, … without having to rely on people to take me out all the time“.

Here’s another great example of how Oysta’s Mobile Telecare has helped someone to regain confidence and take positive risks:

“At a visit today the lady informed me that she is so pleased with the Oysta and the difference it has made for her. This lady has physical disabilities which led to her losing confidence going out of the home. She informed me that since having the Oysta is has given her the confidence to get out as she knows she will be able to summon help if something happens. As it has a falls sensor she is reassured that an alert would be sent even if she was unable to push the button. The lady is also lives in a domestic abuse environment and stated that the Oysta again gives her reassurance that she could summon help if required from anywhere in the home. She stated her Oysta goes everywhere with her and she is never without. She is so pleased with the service she is hoping she will be able to continue with it when she moves out of county.”
Ms Wallace, a Care Manager talking about one of her Clients.

Many vulnerable people could benefit from support to live independently right now using mobile telecare services – helping to reduce loneliness and isolation whilst improving confidence and physical activities – surely that’s a risk worth taking?

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