Jonathan Papworth, co-founder and director of Person Centred Software, explains how technology is helping families stay in touch with their loved ones over the festive period.
Loneliness among older people is a key issue in care homes. Over 80% of adults with mental health problems in UK nursing homes suffer from lonelinessi. And it’s only exacerbated over the festive period when people are more vulnerable to feeling isolated.
According to the 2018-2019 Personal Social Services Adult Social Care Survey by NHS Digital, only 58.5% of care home residents felt they had meaningful social contactii. Residents are suffering emotionally and physically because of it. The Campaign to End Loneliness reports that loneliness is as damaging to people’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes per dayiii. Care workers provide outstanding emotional support to residents, but their demanding roles can stop them from having the time to give individual residents the company they need.
Residents’ families want to stay connected with their loved ones in care but sometimes they live far away, overseas or have busy lives that stop them coming to visit as regularly as they would like. Typically, families feel a great deal of grief and guilt at ‘not being able to cope’ with looking after their family member, especially at Christmas.
Technology can connect families with their loved ones in care in the form of an online portal, such as Relatives Gateway. Designed to promote inclusive and transparent care, care homes using Relatives Gateway can engage with family members across the world and give them peace of mind through easy online access to records, charts and analysis about their loved ones, as well as sharing photos and messages. This online portal gives value back to the care home too as it saves time on telephone calls to relatives and recognises everything care workers do, from key activities to the smallest acts of kindness.
Find out how Relatives Gateway can help you keep in touch with families over the festive period at www.personcentredsoftware.com/products/relatives-gateway
Sources: iUniversity of Bedfordshire, Student reveals extent of loneliness in the elderly https://bit.ly/2qMxXLp; iiNHS Digital, Personal Social Services Adult Social Care Survey, England – 2018-2019, https://bit.ly/32y3ZIl; iiiCampaign to End Loneliness, The facts on loneliness, https://bit.ly/2X4bdCJ