Prior to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directive to restrict visitors in nursing homes, Catholic Health was putting plans in place to protect patients and residents at its four nursing homes and one adult care community, including suspending visitation.
A press release said, “At the same time, we understand how important visits with family and friends are to the well-being of our nursing home residents. Catholic Health leaders and nursing management, in conjunction with Catholic Health’s IT team, immediately looked at technology solutions that would enable virtual nursing home visits.”
Senior Vice President of Home & Community Based Care Tom Gleason said, “We know the virus seriously affects the elderly more than any other age group, so we believe these prudent measures need to be taken; and while everyone agrees this is the best thing to do for our residents and patients, it is incredibly difficult for families to be kept away from their loved ones. We’re working hard to ease the concerns of family members by providing them with regular updates and giving them the opportunity to stay engaged with their loved ones during this unprecedented situation.”
Using Technology to Stay Connected
Nursing homes across the country are on high alert, because of evidence of the considerable risk coronavirus poses to the elderly population. Because visitors are so important to the welfare of the elderly, Catholic Health came up with a plan to use iPads to offer virtual visits at its nursing homes, subacute rehabilitation facilities and adult care community.
Over past days, Catholic Health purchased 20 iPads and quickly deployed them at its four long-term and subacute care facilities – Father Baker Manor in Orchard Park, McAuley Residence in Tonawanda, Mercy Nursing Facility at OLV in Lackawanna, and St. Catherine Labouré Health Care Center in Buffalo – and at St. Francis Park adult care community in Hamburg.
“The iPads are a great way to help families keep connected until the visitor restrictions are lifted,” Gleason added.
Staff at the facilities have been trained to use the iPads, along with Catholic Health’s video conferencing capabilities, to give nursing home, adult care residents and subacute rehabilitation patients the ability to have a video visit with their family members and loved ones.
The press release said, “If you have a family member or loved one in one of long-term facilities and you’d like to arrange a virtual visit, give the location a call and we’d be happy to set that up for you.”