Providers of social care services are well aware that the CQC is pushing them to demonstrate the use of technology. Indeed, it is often commented on as a plus in some inspection reports.
The impact of the coronavirus in restricting visiting to care homes has led to the isolation of residents in care homes. It is therefore good to see a new innovation to bridge the gap between residents and their communities.
A Loughborough care home has been hosting Zoom workshops to help residents connect with family and friends online and is now branching out to the elderly in the local community, who may be struggling with technology to gain some tips.
Staff and residents at Woodthorpe Lodge have been spending time learning how to use modern technology to connect with others during the newly launched ‘Silver Surfers’ workshops.
The classes have been so successful, the care team have now branched out to offer the workshops, over Zoom, to other local older people who may be struggling to connect with their friends and families online and give them a "newfound sense of independence."
Resident, Pamela Horner aged 93, said: “The mobile phone and computer classes have been brilliant, I was struggling to answer my mobile and make calls to my family over the past few months. Staff have always been helpful when I needed to make a call, but I wanted to learn how to do it independently – and now I can!
“I would encourage anybody else who is struggling with technology to join in with the virtual workshops, it has given me a newfound sense of independence and I have even started playing computer card games which I would have never been able to do on my own before.”
During their classes, the Silver Surfer’s learn about modern technology and the benefits of using it, along with the basics of mobile phones, how to use apps such as Facetime to stay in touch with their loved ones and even how to access fun games online such as chess and solitaire.
Lifestyle manager, Michelle Cart, who heads the IT workshops, said: “I am delighted to be running the workshops, I think it is very important to help the older generation to see technology isn’t as scary as it sounds.
“We usually have a chat with each person taking our workshop to find out their main learning ambitions and we aim to conquer it! Our residents have picked everything up really quickly and have even advanced to more difficult technology such as using iPads and apps which is great.”
Home manager, Preet Hundal added: “We have really seen a demand over the course of the pandemic for the use of technology to communicate with friends and families. We have always supported our residents to make calls, however I think it is fantastic to see them learning new skills!
"I look forward to supporting other older people who may be struggling to connect with their loved ones and pass on some top tech tips.”
The coronavirus has taught us many things, especially the hurt that occurs when people are prevented from seeing their loved ones. Residents in care homes in particular have suffered from isolation more than most.
The imitative by staff at Woodbridge Lodge using zoom workshops to bring residents, their families and friends closer together is a good example of harnessing the use of technology to the benefit of those who use social care.
Albert Cook BA, MA & Fellow Charted Quality Institute Managing Director Bettal Quality Consultancy