Evidence Summary

What is an Evidence Summary?

Key messages from scientific research that's ready to be acted on

Got It, Hide this
  • Rating:

Telecare is a useful support for healthy aging at home, but older adults should have a say in how it is used in their care

Karlsen C, Ludvigsen MS, Moe CE, et al. Experiences of community-dwelling older adults with the use of telecare in home care services: A qualitative systematic review  JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports. 2017;15(12):2913-2980.

Review question

        Do older adults using home-care services find telecare useful for healthy aging?


        Home care can help older adults manage their health conditions and maintain independence, but it isn’t always able to address all of an individual’s needs.

        Telecare, which involves using technological devices to improve safety and the functionality of patients living at home by complementing what is provided through home care, is a promising solution to promote independence.

        However, there is a poor understanding of whether patients find using telecare useful in their daily lives.

How the review was done

        A detailed search of a number of electronic databases for studies published from 2005 up to and including June 2017 was conducted.  Studies that focused on older adults using telecare for home-care service globally were included in the review.

        A total of 1,732 studies were identified in searches, and 21 were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.

        This review was funded by the Norwegian Science Foundation, Kvinesdal Municipality, and the health network in Lister and Lindesnes region.

What the researchers found

        The review found that many older adults think telecare can contribute to their safety and security, while supporting them to maintain their health, however, they wanted more say in how it was used. 

        Many older adults may think telecare technology is difficult to use properly, and that some types (such as alarms for those who are hearing impaired) are inappropriate for them.

        Older adults may have a concern that telecare technology could promote a negative image of aging, and portray older individuals as being frail, helpless and needing support.


        This review found that telecare is positively received by older adults who view it as a way to improve safety at home. However, many older adults may believe that the technology is difficult to use and inappropriately prescribed. Given patient opinions about telecare are likely diverse, researchers suggest considering individuals’ needs and involving them in decisions about whether to use telecare.


Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

Related Web Resources

  • Texting 2 quit - Using mobile phones to support people quit smoking

    Evidently Cochrane
    Support, in the form of education and nicotine replacement therapy, can increase your chances of quitting smoking. Counselling and text message support via mobile phone is a promising way to manage nicotine cravings. More research is needed as technology options change.
  • Patient education: How to use a peak flow meter (Beyond the Basics)

    UpToDate - patient information
    A peak flow meter measures lung function and the severity of asthma symptoms. It is an inexpensive, easy way to monitor asthma symptoms at home. Regular measurements can help guide treatment. This website gives tips on how to use it.
  • The evidence on hands-free cell phone devices while driving

    Evidence-based Living
    Research shows that talking on hands free phone devices while driving is just as dangerous as talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel. The act of having a conversation distracts the driver and increase the chances of being involved in an accident that may result in serious injury or death.
DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Register for free access to all Professional content

Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.

Support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative. AGE-WELL is a contributing partner. Help us to continue to provide direct and easy access to evidence-based information on health and social conditions to help you stay healthy, active and engaged as you grow older. Donate Today.

© 2012 - 2020 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use