When we consider our senior population in the UK, saving money and improving quality of life are two concepts that rarely go hand in hand.
We often equate better health outcomes with higher public spending, which can be justified given rising costs and the ever-squeezed public sector.
What we consider less often however, is the preventative savings incurred when we intervene with the right tools, at the right time.
That’s why Komp was designed; the one button, 4G-ready computer that connects isolated seniors to their loved ones and health/social care providers through video calls and more.
From hospital and residential care admissions to homecare, the facts are clear: loneliness and digital exclusion place older people at greater risk and cost the public more money. One silver lining of the devastating pandemic has been an increased focus on the costs of digital exclusion.
On average, adult social care represents more than 40 percent of the total spending of local authorities¹. People who are lonely are 3.5 times more likely to enter local authority funded care², which averages at £704 per week in the UK³. Every week someone is kept independent at home with Komp, (£39 p/m rent, or £599 purchase) is a saving.
The NHS spends huge amounts on these issues. Isolated people are 1.8 times more likely to visit a GP¹ (averaging at £30 per appointment⁴), and 1.6 times more likely to visit A&E¹ (averaging £322 per visit⁵). The NHS has a clear plan to digitise services and deliver more care in the community, and with good reason – the current inpatient first model is unsustainable. Every day someone is kept out of a hospital bed, the NHS saves £306⁶. If people can be discharged earlier, with accessible technology like Komp, the savings can be huge.
The problem is, so many of the people most at risk of care admissions or using a hospital bed are digitally excluded due to old age or disability. That’s why we need warm technology – designed with seniors in mind.
Let’s take an example
An 89 year old gentleman has been discharged from hospital following a fall. This can only be done safely with a council funded care package to monitor his medication and check in on him. The average care visit in the UK costs £20-30ph⁷, with daily travel expenses averaging at £24⁵. His hospital stay cost over £900 in three days.
He lives alone and is increasingly anxious following the passing of his wife, and the recent pandemic.
Komp would allow this man to connect to his family and loved ones for video calls and photo sharing, increasing his social contacts and alleviating his anxiety. Furthermore, his care providers could remotely monitor his medication reminders, and provide social calls. Eventually GP’s, social workers and other services could call in too.
For the cost of ten Komps, assisting ten users with a case such as above, let us look at some implied savings. Reduced travel and homecare visit costs would amount to roughly £14,000 per year. If we factor in a further eight months of delayed care admissions, that is another £12,000-£20,000 saved by the local authority. Reduced risk of falls, hospital appointments, and other service use would save the NHS £5,800 per year. If these ten people are kept out of a hospital bed for just two days each per year, due to safer discharge, that’s £6,102 spent on other patients. That’s not to mention the implied savings through digitised appointments for GPs and inpatient services.
Importantly, these cost savings are not a cost to quality of life; quite the opposite. In a recent survey of organisations working with No Isolation, 100% agreed that Komp improved mental wellbeing and increased social contacts for their users.
As one project lead recently told us:
"The biggest value is in quality of life and positive experience, and they can’t always be measured in money."
Risks reduced, independence gained, and costs saved – with the right technology designed with users in mind, everyone can win.
1: Bottery, S., Ward, D., & Fenney, D. (2019). Social care 360. King's Fund.
3: Berg, V., 2021. [online] Carehome.co.uk [Accessed 25 November 2021].
4: England, NHS., 2021. NHS England » Missed GP appointments costing NHS millions [Accessed 25 November 2021].
5: No Isolation, Internal Research
6: England, NHS. (2021). Statistics » Delayed Transfers of Care [Retrieved 25 November 2021].
7: Berg, V. (2021). Paying for care at home [Retrieved 25 November 2021].