Pilot scheme plays key role in preventing social isolation for residents at St Joseph's care home in Sudbury during coronavirus lockdown
A nationwide pilot scheme has played a key role in helping to combat social isolation among residents at a Sudbury care home during the coronavirus lockdown.
As part of the project, St Joseph’s care home in The Croft has been provided with a Facebook Portal electronic device, which has enabled residents at the facility to host regular video calls with their loved-ones.
Spearheaded by Facebook, the social media giant who created the electronic equipment, the scheme is being rolled-out to care facilities and hospitals across the country in partnership with NHSX, a government-led initiative designed to boost the digital transformation of health and social care.
Marie Gould, a resident who has lived at St Joseph’s for two years, received a Facebook Portal as a gift on Mothering Sunday from her family.
Mrs Gould highlighted that, despite not being able to receive a physical visit from her loved-ones during the crisis, hosting regular video calls on the device had provided her with deep comfort.
“To see and speak to my family has made a huge difference to my life,” said the 91-year-old. “I now have more people to talk to.”
The device had enabled Mrs Gould to host a virtual event to share a special milestone with her loved-ones, who hadn’t been able to visit the care home due to the Government’s guidelines during the lockdown.
“When it was my birthday, my family were able to call and sing Happy Birthday to me, with the carers in the room, and, with my birthday cake,” she said.
Whilst enjoying spending quality time with her relatives, talking to them regularly via a video call has helped to ease the social isolation.
“My family usually visit me daily, but haven’t been able to do so because of the lockdown, so, being able to see and speak to my family has been important,” said Mrs Gould. “I miss my family and friends.”
Praising the project, Hayley Head, manager at St Josephs, said: “We know how important it is for our residents to keep in touch with their loved-ones and this technology really helps with that.”
The Government has pledged its support to the initiative, with care minister, Helen Whately, highlighting the importance that family and friends stay in touch during the unprecedented situation.
She said: “Social distancing is tough on us all, and we must remember how beneficial interaction with loved-ones is for our well-being.
“I’m delighted that NHSX is partnering with Facebook to make it easier for those in care homes to keep in touch with friends and family, alongside the ongoing hard work by NHSX to expand communication capabilities across the health and social care sector.”