Home Coronavirus: Community response Keeping families in touch during lockdown

Keeping families in touch during lockdown

by Cathy Sheel

Businesses have rallied around an appeal to help care home residents stay in touch with loved ones during lockdown.

While residents of care homes have been unable to receive visits during lockdown, staff have been trying to find ways that they can safely keep in touch with the outside world and see their families and friends.

So an appeal went out for donations of electronic tablets and iPads which can be used to video message loved ones, as not all residents have access to their own technology – or are able to use them unassisted.

Both Barclays Bank’s Digital Eagle programme and media company Sky stepped up to support the campaign donating devices and providing vital training to care homes in Knowsley.

Barclays Digital Eagles programme has donated tablet devices and is delivering digital skills, through virtual training, to care homes across the borough. This is part of the company’s Digital Eagles pledge to provide this support to at least 500 care homes across the UK in 2020.

The virtual training is designed to give care home residents and staff the confidence and skills to use technology to stay connected with loved ones or medical professionals using iPads donated by Barclays.

Sky has also donated a number of iPads and mobile phones which will be used by Knowsley’s Supported Living providers and residents needing more help to keep in touch.

Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care said: “This is another example of the fantastic support we’ve received from our business community during the Coronavirus crisis.

“The donation of this equipment and training will make a huge difference to our care home staff, residents – and those living in our supported living schemes – by providing them with the vital skills and equipment they need to stay connected with loved ones during lockdown.”

Jeanette Johnston, Manager at Montgomery Care Home, Huyton, said: “The training sessions and the tablets donated to us have really helped our residents stay connected to loved ones, as well as helping us connect to GPs virtually, which has been welcomed during these challenging times.”

Toni Ives, Head of Barclays Digital Eagles said: “We’re aware of the additional pressures facing care homes and the challenge for families to stay connected. Our Barclays Digital Eagles are training care staff so they can help residents to keep in touch with their loved ones and help overcome isolation and loneliness. In addition, we’re training staff how to access virtual GP appointments, meaning they can get the medical care they need without the worry of leaving the care home.”

Andy Cantwell, Team Manager, Sky said: “As the country entered lockdown, we knew we wanted to help our local community however we could. When we realised that there were people who were unable to communicate with their families during this time it was heart-breaking. I’m glad that due to the team effort and generosity of the local Home Service team, we were able to provide devices to help connect those in need.”

Pictured, L-R: Jody Day & Andy Cantwell from Sky, Cllr Sean Donnelly, Liam Mitchell, from Barclays and Jeanette Johnston & Kane Windle from Montgomery Care Home.