Care home provider Anchor is trialling new technology designed to help its residents stay in touch with relatives during the coronavirus pandemic.
Each of its 114 care homes has been given a free Facebook portal as part of a project run by the social media giant and the NHS to reduce social isolation during the outbreak.
Cath Holmes, Anchor’s Service Improvement Manager, said the portals were particularly important for residents living with dementia as it was difficult sometimes for them to understand why their relatives were unable to visit them.
“Residents living in Anchor’s care homes have long benefited from the variety of technology we use whether it’s been iPads, interactive tables where shapes and games are projected onto a table top, or virtual reality headsets,” Cath said. “The portal is an extension of this. It’s important we test the device’s potential and our feedback is used to make any necessary improvements so that older people across the country can use them to boost their social interaction with friends and family.
“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 UK government has backed the pilot scheme as it boosts important connectivity between care home residents and their families during the coronavirus lockdown.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “Social distancing is tough on us all, and we must remember how beneficial interaction with loved ones is for our wellbeing.
“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.”