If telecare is the answer, what was the question? Storyline, tensions and the unintended consequences of technology-supported care
Telecare—services employing technology to monitor people’s movement, medication and home environment at a distance—has emerged as a key component of global social care and health policies. The relationship between policies about telecare and the experiences and aspirations of service users has been under-interrogated. This paper draws on findings from an organisational case study involving people living with complex conditions using various telecare devices and employs Hajer’s (1995) concept of argumentative discourse analysis to identify two key storylines arguing that telecare improves people’s quality of life and promotes independence. While these storylines point to seemingly logical and incontestable objectives, uncritical policy and practice fails to recognise and prioritise the aspirations of service users, leading to unintended consequences that can deepen people’s isolation and minimise organisational benefits.