Home safety service (HSS)

Good practice:

Using technology for real-time interaction between patient and relevant healthcare services

SCOTLAND  / Home safety service (HSS):  NA/4500 3/7

Telecare is provided by the Home Safety Service of the West Lothian Council. Who use its technology to increase safety and security for disabled, elderly, and vulnerable people in over 4000 homes.

Customer's need

The Scottish Government use Telecare to: "Support as many people as possible to live at home for as long as they want to, in comfort and safety, with the best possible health and quality of life.”

The solution

  • With the growing elderly population, comes the need to transform current services. As the demographic changes, traditional services are becoming unsustainable.
  • The focus now is on more personalised outcomes, and the reduction of emergency hospital admissions.
  • This has resonated with service users themselves. They have higher expectations. They are keen to support and help patients. Maximising their independence and wellbeing at home, or in a homely setting.

HSS provides technology to enable independence and social inclusion for service users and carers. The programme provides mostly Telecare equipment, which helps increase safety and security for disabled, elderly and vulnerable people in their own homes.

Keys to success

  • Keeping pace with technology development.
  • Interoperability of equipment.
  • Planning of stock control, and equipment lifecycle management.​

Good practice: Using technology for real-time interaction between patient and relevant healthcare services

Good practice description

Telehealth and Telecare can provide 24/7 care. Caution needs to be used to ensure the level of care at different times. Sufficient support helps participants to cope with their disease and helps them to maintain a positive attitude. Home equipment helps participants to feel secure and supported, once they are used to the technology devices.

“Being able to respond quickly to emergencies and provide reassurance for users.”

Good practice example

There is evidence of programmes successfully monitoring patients remotely, and responding quickly to alerts. Which provides reassurance. Scotland’s HSS Programme successfully supports independent living of seniors at home.

The program

The Home Safety Service provides a package of technology. These include a Lifeline unit, and a range of sensors protecting the person, and their home, by means of a 24-hour telephone link to West Lothian Careline. Sensors provided include a pendant, flood detectors, smoke detector, movement sensors and a temperature extremes sensor. All equipment is wireless, and linked to the lifeline unit. This is plugged into a telephone socket. Other equipment and settings can be provided based on individual’s assessed need. For example, medication reminders, bed or chair occupancy sensors, and door sensors.

Research has shown that having Home Safety Service technology installed can make a considerable difference to the length of time people can remain at home in their community. It helps manage assessed risks, and gives additional peace of mind for patients, relatives and carers. 

The Home Safety support staff are experienced in the use and programming of Telecare equipment. They provide an individualised assessment service and on-going support in the use of the technology.

Training is undertaken in accordance with the Social Policy Learning and Development Guidelines. Development needs are identified both at an individual level, through the performance review process, and at a team level in accordance with legislative and policy improvements.

There are currently over 4000 households in West Lothian with Telecare equipment installed. In terms of future activities, the goal is to expand the use of technology by a minimum of 10% within integrate care approaches. This will effectively support people who want to remain at home. It will also avoid the need for unplanned emergency hospital and care home admissions. In addition, the ambition is to move towards a needs-led assessment evaluating a user’s abilities, independent of services that already exist, and assess whether additional services are needed.

Contact information

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Lesley Broadley

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Pamela Main


  • Maximising Recovery, Promoting Independence: An Intermediate Care Framework for Scotland, 2012
  • A National Telehealth & Telecare Delivery Plan for Scotland to 2015

Program partners