Lead Organisation: Isle of Anglesey County Council
Ynys Môn Local Authority has accessed a number of regional and local funding streams to develop and strengthen the digital inclusion programme.
15 iPad’s distributed across residential care homes on the island and including one Extra Care facility. We were able to pivot ICF funding to establish the Virtual Community Hub project. The funding enabled us to purchase 60 Samsung tablets and data bundles and these will be loaned out to people over the period of 6 months. We have also developed the Cymuned website. Links to dementia services will be available along with opportunities to take part in live virtual sessions and recorded sessions.
A further 50 Samsung tablets made available through the Transformational fund slippage. We are working with the Alzheimer’s Society, Medrwn Mon and GP Cluster to increase digital connectivity with particular emphasis on connecting people to the My Health On Line (MHOL) service to improve access to primary and secondary care. Dedicated staffing capacity has been made available to project manage this service. Further equipment purchased include Alexa Show`s and Alexa Dots, project manager will work closely with Community Resource Teams to identify individuals who would benefit from this technology.
The touch screen tables provide a unique interactive experience for people with mid-to late-stage dementia in UK care homes
All interactive touch screen tables come with pre-installed brain training apps and memory apps along with a host of enjoyable games and puzzles. There are also a choice of 1000’s of other apps available to download them to the table to enhance enjoyment.
One of the Managers of the Care Home said:
We were so pleased to receive the Activity Table and excited and enthusiastic to get set up and started. We have appointed a lead person from our team who is ‘I.T literate’ and supports other team members to operate the table once they had attended the free on line training and introduction which was very useful.
We use the table daily with individuals living with varying levels of dementia and cognitive abilities, playing games, word search, crosswords, jigsaws, reminiscing, music, YouTube – films, sensory activities and also to enable individuals to have “face time” calls with their family and friends from far and wide when a visit is not possible .We have created individual files for every resident and placed their favourite activities there ,we are in the process of asking families to put photographs and memories onto memory sticks so that we can also file them and use to reminisce and support individuals if they have episodes of ” sun downing” and to help us build a bond and connect with them especially as many “time travel” within their dementia and knowledge of their past history and people from that era enables us to enter their reality and chat about them.
Using the table together we have shared laughter and smiles and it has had a positive effect on everyone’s wellbeing including the staff who can’t resist when passing in “feeding the fish” in one of the games.
Alzheimer’s Society services on Anglesey
Dementia Connect operates seven days a week and offers a bilingual service. Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, and most of this financial year, the services across Anglesey have continued to be in demand, and we are receiving referrals on a regular basis. As people affected by dementia face additional challenges in managing the illness, accessing services and essential goods, coping with social distancing and related isolation Dementia Connect has been a ‘lifeline’.
We have continued to provide one to one information, advice and support services – via telephone, Skype or Zoom. Practices such as the completion of initial assessments, risk assessments and individualised person-centred support plans are undertaken as standard practice. We are allowing for face-to-face visits in exceptional circumstances, ensuring that our staff and people affected by dementia follow strict processes and guidelines to ensure their safety. Our default is to offer virtual services throughout the pandemic period for service users who do not meet the criteria for exceptional circumstances. We are continually reviewing going back to our normal practice of home visits depending on national and local guidelines.
In addition, regular reviews are carried out to monitor progress and any changes in need, using regular follow up calls and the recently introduced Covid-19 Keeping Safe Checklist. Service users also receive scheduled Keep in Touch calls, these aim to prevent crisis and ensure the person is supported throughout their dementia journey. We have also seen an increase in the number of people across Anglesey accessing our Telephone Support line. As a direct response to the Covid-19 crisis the Society have also introduced new ways of delivering services, and these are being offered to all service users referred into Dementia Connect who live in Anglesey.
Anyone who has used our services since 1 December 2019 has received an initial Welfare Call to determine the level of support, they require during the Coronavirus outbreak. Welfare calls are regular calls to people affected by dementia, delivered by the community-based Dementia Advisers and focus specifically on support related to the pandemic (e.g. social isolation, food shopping, medication, appointments etc.). For the financial year 20/21 349 welfare calls have been delivered.
During this time, isolation and loneliness will hit people affected by dementia extremely hard. On Anglesey, we have introduced a new temporary service called Companion Calls and 6 people are receiving this service. The companion calls are delivered through companion call volunteers and have completed 50 calls to those 6 people affected by dementia in Anglesey who are receiving the service since the service started in June, 2020. Our companion call service will remain part of our Dementia Connect service offer post pandemic; the service specification and management of this service is currently being reviewed and we hope to be able to share an update later in the financial year.
Virtual Carers Information and Support Programme 1&2
We have delivered our Carers Information and Support Programme 1 each month since December to up to 10 carers of people living with dementia. The sessions will continue throughout the next financial year. We have also reviewed our Carers Information and Support Programme 2 which focuses on support carers as Dementia Progresses and this will be delivered from April onwards.