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Care homes to benefit from thousands of iPads to help residents stay in touch with loved ones

Care homes to benefit from thousands of iPads to help residents stay in touch with loved ones

Up to 11,000 iPads, worth £7.5 million, are to be distributed to thousands of care homes across England. This will help to reduce loneliness by allowing residents to stay in touch with loved ones during the pandemic.

The announcement follows the Government’s Adult Social Care Winter Plan and will mean care home staff can easily access digital health services, including virtual appointments for residents.

Using digital services will help to reduce the risk of infection from people going into homes as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Each tablet will be ready to use straight out of the box and include a 12-month support package. For care homes without full access to WiFi, a data-enable SIM card will be provided.

Minister for Care, Helen Whately, said:

“We’ve set out our plan to make sure social care has what it needs throughout winter to keep coronavirus at bay and provide the care so many rely on. But we know one of the hardest things during the pandemic has been the restrictions on visiting, keeping families away from their loved ones.

“I have heard from many people about the pain of not being able to visit, not being able to hug or even hold the hand of their husband or wife, father or mother. I know iPads won’t solve this problem and connecting via a device doesn’t work for everyone, but it will help some families stay in touch.”

The iPads will make it possible for care homes to:

  • connect residents with loved ones remotely
  • hold video consultations with medical professionals, and easily organise face to face appointments
  • enable care home staff to reorder medications on behalf of their residents and update information in their GP records
  • use NHSmail (a secure NHS internal email service)
  • use any other applications and tools that they feel support the care of their residents.

They will be prioritised for care homes that don’t have enough modern devices, or struggle with their internet connection.

Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, said:

“Technology has a huge potential to improve the lives of care homes residents, from helping them stay close to their own families to fixing an online consultation with their GP.

“NHSX is committed to ensuring we realise the true potential of technology in patient and public health and this mass-rollout of tablets is just one of the steps the NHS is taking to support the sector ahead of winter.”

For more information on how to access one of the iPads, please visit the iPad offer web page from NHSX.

If you have questions about technology, our helpline is here to support you. You can call us on 0208 133 3430 (Mon-Fri 9-5) or email [email protected] for free support.

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