Fairways Care Home use technology to keep residents connected with loved ones during COVID-19 outbreak
With care homes having been closed to visitors since mid-March to help protect residents from the spread of COVID-19, the effects of being cut off from the world can be worrying and heart-breaking for residents and families alike.
Visits from families, friends and members of the local community are an essential part of daily life in our care homes and it has been feared this lack of contact could cause issues for residents’ mental and physical wellbeing.
Fortunately, Fairways Care Home have been given a helping hand to keep residents connected with their loved ones safely, through the use of technology. This has been made possible through a project led by local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and F4 IT, to deploy Android tablet devices into care homes to keep residents connected during this uncertain time.
Thanks to the project, Fairways has been provided with one Android tablet device enabling doctors to hold an increasing number of virtual consultations with patients, and one iPhone for residents to connect with their loved ones on a daily basis.
Kim Butters, Registered Manager at Fairways Care Home on Little Coates Road, Grimsby, said: “The use of technology has supported us to build better communication systems with the friends, family and loved ones of our residents. It gives them the reassurances their loved one is being well looked after by managing to keep in contact through virtual meetings, whilst we’re still closed to visitors.
“We’ve received lots of positive feedback and thanks from friends and family members for allowing them to opportunity to see and speak to their loved ones during this difficult time.”
Kim added: “We recently had a lovely lady who we believed was coming to the end of her life due to ill health. This lady has since made an amazing recovery, and we’ve been able to arrange Zoom meetings with her brother who was able to see for himself just how much her health had improved. He was so grateful for the care which has been given to his sister and for the opportunity to stay connected from afar.”
Whilst the use of technology has had a tremendously positive impact for staff and residents at the care home, the team hope the use of such devices will remain prominent in the future once we come out of the pandemic.
Kim said: “Whilst we’ve benefitted from the use of technology during the lockdown, we plan to continue using the devices as much as possible in the future as well. Some of our residents’ relatives live away from the area, limiting face-to-face contact time with their loved ones, so the use of technology for connecting them has been vital and will continue to be.
“The reaction has been so good that as a business we’ve applied for funding for another large screen tablet device through the Care Plus Group Charitable Trust. If we’re successful we’ll be able to connect our residents to their family and friends on a more frequent basis, both in the short and long-term.
“Much like ourselves, we wouldn’t be surprised if other health and social care staff continue to use the technology on a regular basis as it allows them to visually assess a patient’s health and capacity with ease, even when they are unable to get to the care home to see them in person.”
The use of technology hasn’t been the only new introduction at Fairways since the coronavirus pandemic came about as the care home have had to adapt to a new way of working over the last few months.
Kim said: “To ensure our staff and residents safety we’ve had to implement several new measures at the care home since the start of the pandemic. We’ve isolated residents where possible, made changes to residents’ meal routines and seating layouts throughout the care home and changed our shift structure to meet the needs of our residents.”
Members of staff from Day Services have also been supporting the team at Fairways, having been redeployed due to their service grinding to a halt after social distancing and lockdown measures were introduced to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Kim concluded: “The team at Fairways and those staff members who have been supporting us from Day Services have been nothing short of amazing during these challenging times. Every day they have come in to work and tried to make our residents lives as comfortable as possible, and have offered the utmost dignity to those who have sadly reached the end of their life. Each and every member of the team have done us proud!”
Fairways Care Home, located on Little Coates Road in Grimsby, is a modern, purpose-built 55-bed home, built on one level and designed to provide a warm, comfortable and safe home that’s supports the individual needs of each resident.
For more information about Fairways Care Home please follow the link to our website www.careplusgroup.org/services/fairways-overview