Tech-savvy elderly residents at a Hertfordshire care home are now able to stay connected with friends and family during the coronavirus outbreak having got to grips with the latest video calling technology, having had Facebook Portal installed.
With the majority of care homes across the UK being closed to all non-essential visitors during the coronavirus pandemic, Foxholes Care Home, near Hitchin, has introduced video calling technology to ensure its residents stay personally connected to their loved ones.
By using Facebook Portal, a smart system that provides video chat via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, and augmented by a camera that can automatically zoom and track people’s movements, the home’s residents have been able to see, hear and respond to their friends and family in real-time, on a regular basis.
Minnie Copping, an 84-year-old resident at the home, has been using the Facebook Portal to keep in touch with her daughter Sandra.
Minnie said: “I think the technology is marvellous. It’s so reassuring to know that I can see and speak to my family whenever I want to.”
Staff at Foxholes have been training and aiding residents, who range in age from 50 to over 100, to use the innovative technology, which also has Amazon Alexa built-in, at a time where normal day-to-day contact is prohibited.
Neil Gandecha, Estate Manager at Foxholes, said: “While a phone call to a resident from a family member is lovely, those who receive regular visitors have lost that personal, emotional contact with the outside world. At an unsettling time where we’re told to stay indoors, it can be quite difficult for residents to adapt to sudden changes, such as no longer being able to see family and friends in person. Such visits are often a highlight of the day for a lot of our residents and so we felt we had to do something to maintain that special connection.
Neil concluded: “Facebook Portal has provided the answer and has been a revelation in these difficult times. Residents can experience conversations with loved ones in real-time and actually being able to see and hear them is quite profound for them. We’re not sure how long we’ll be in lockdown, but we all feel content that through the use of technology available at the home, residents can maintain their emotional connections with loved ones.”