The Transformation Programme has now finished and been replaced by the Regional Integration Fund.
Supporting hospitals, care homes and supported living accommodation during the pandemic
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on people who receive health and social care support across North Wales. Patients, residents and tenants have not been able to see friends and family when they need it the most. The pandemic has disrupted our routine and impacted on people’s mental well-being and emotional resilience.
Through the support of the Community Services Transformation Programme’s ‘Digital Communities’ Initiative, people admitted to hospital during the pandemic, and those living in care homes and some supported living properties, have been provided with iPads to enable them to keep in touch with family and friends whilst in isolation.
The North Wales ‘Digital Communities’ initiative has loaned over 350 4G enabled iPads to hospitals, care homes and some supported living properties across the region, which have been pre-loaded with digital messaging and other useful apps, which are inspiring the people who have received them to go online.
Residents and staff across North Wales are now embracing the use of digital technology, which has been life changing for many.
Keeping in Touch
With encouragement and guidance from staff, care home residents and patients in acute and community hospitals are now using iPads to make daily video calls to keep in touch with their families.
“… this has proved to be a fantastic opportunity for residents to be able to stay in contact with their relatives, one of our residents hasn’t seen his brother who lives in [Country] for almost 18 years. Although they do speak monthly via phone it was the first time they had actually seen it other in this time, it was a wonderful experience for them, it was really lovely for them to be able to see each other face to face and indeed for all of our residents to have the opportunity to see their loved ones face to face, and to be able to reassure them that they are safe and well”
The video calls have had emotional benefits including supporting mental well-being.
“When I received a call to offer us an iPad to enable the residents to keep in touch with loved ones during the current lockdown, I was absolutely delighted … Having the iPad brings so much joy to the residents. Their faces light up when they see their family members appear on video calls. Having the iPad to communicate with the outside world during such a difficult time has definitely had an emotional benefit to our residents”
Activities Co-ordinators have been able to incorporate the iPads within their activity sessions.
“We have also been able to download some activities on to the iPad that the residents can enjoy taking part in.”
Within our hospitals, the iPads have been instrumental in enabling patients to keep in contact with their family and friends, and have had a positive role for both patients and staff.
93% felt having the iPads on hospital wards had a positive impact for patients
82% felt having the iPads had a positive impact on staff time
iPads in the Community
iPads are also now being made available to people living in the community, with funding secured to purchase more iPads. It’s early days for this next phase of the project. The approach taken will be person-centred, with staff being encouraged to discuss people’s hobbies and interests with them, and use this information to inform what apps are uploaded. The hope is that this will help to develop people’s digital skills and confidence.
In conjunction with the Welsh Government’s ‘Attend Anywhere’ initiative. staff across Care Homes are also using the iPads to participate in virtual consultations with local GPs. Work is now underway as part of the ‘Digital Communities’ initiative to loan iPads to people in the community who are digitally excluded, to take part in virtual GP appointments.
We are working collaboratively with Cartrefi Conwy on a pilot project to support the use of virtual GP appointments amongst their tenants.
Digital Communities in the Press
Click on the links below to see some of the recent press releases about the Digital Communities iPad loan scheme