Care home residents across Bath and North East Somerset will soon be able to keep in touch with loved ones virtually, thanks to new iPads being provided by the NHS.
Twenty-seven care homes across the area will receive thirty-nine new iPads over the coming weeks.
As well as enabling residents to keep in touch with relatives and loved ones via video calls, the technology will also provide a vital resource for care home staff.
The iPads will enable them to work with GPs to provide a Covid-secure virtual ward round, sharing patient charts and images to assist with diagnosis and treatment plans.
Councillor Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services, said: “Covid-19 has meant that some care home residents haven’t been able to see their relatives or loved ones as often as they’d like, but keeping in touch during these trying times is vital to wellbeing, so I’m absolutely delighted the NHS has provided these iPads at such a crucial time.
“Of course, at the moment physical contact needs to be minimised so the iPads will also be incredibly helpful to GP’s as they work with care home staff to monitor residents’ health.”
Stephen Hill, manager of MHA Stratton House in Bath, added: “Having an iPad will make a real difference to our residents. Instead of just hearing a voice on the phone they will be able to see their loved ones and for many it will be the closest they have got to face-to-face contact for some time.
“The iPad will also help with activities, enabling residents to take part in, for example armchair aerobics in their room.
“It will also mean doctors can chat with residents virtually, lowering the risk of Covid transmission.”
The iPads will also be used to assist the Care Quality Commission to carry out inspections of care homes during the pandemic.
Currently, inspectors are unable to physically access large areas of the homes because of the safety measures put in place to protect residents from potential exposure to Covid-19.
As an important part of each inspection involves conversations with residents, these will now be carried out virtually using the new iPads.
Claire Sinclair, manager of Kingfisher Lodge Care Centre in Saltford, said: “Every piece of technology that we can have to help residents during this difficult time is much appreciated and a huge bonus.”