Care Home Connections is a new initiative to connect care home residents with their loved ones, whenever they want. We want to enable as many residents and relatives as possible to have treasured moments together at a time when physical visits have been stopped or significantly reduced.
We have spoken to relatives of care home residents about the distress and huge impact on well-being of not being able to have meaningful contact with their loved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic. Care home staff have tried their best in extremely challenging circumstances to help residents stay connected through video calls etc., but we know that video calls can bring various challenges for residents, relatives and care home staff.
There is an alternative option that, once set up, requires minimal help from staff and enables residents and their loved ones to connect whenever they want, using voice enabled assistive technology. Perhaps the best known of these is "Alexa".
Using this technology, relatives and friends can "drop in" on residents virtually and create treasured moments. Voice calls can be less intrusive than video, and less confusing for residents who may find video technology too much, but understand the concept of a phone call. Plus it uses less bandwidth on the wifi.
We know that no technology can replace the experience of face-to-face visits. However, we have seen that this voice enabled assistive technology can work “incredibly well” as a way to communicate and connect with care home residents until family and friends are able to visit them in person as frequently as they wish.
Watch this video to hear how this technology has been helping Margaret's family keep in touch with her since she moved into a care home at the height of the pandemic.
Apply for a free device
Through a crowdfunding appeal under the Aviva Community Fund, we have raised funds to buy several of these voice enabled devices to distribute, free, to care home residents to connect with their loved ones.
If you would be interested in receiving one of these free devices for a care home resident you know, please complete this application form.
If you have a general query about Care Home Connections or using an Alexa to connect care home residents with their loved ones, please contact us.
We are very grateful to everyone that has donated to that appeal to enable this idea to come to life, thank you.
Resources for relatives
We want as many families as possible to be able to use this technology to keep in touch with their loved ones. Whether you apply for one the free devices we are distributing, or wish to use your own, please click here to read our Relatives' How To Guides on getting set-up at home and at the care home, adding and removing permitted contacts to the device, and a range of other useful resources to help get the most out of the technology. Click here for some points you may wish to agreewith the care home in relation to the use of the device, which have been prepared based on advice and experience of other families who have successfully used these devices to connect with a loved one in a care home.