Alcove Covid-19 Virtual Care Case Studies (5/7) - Suffolk County Council: Mrs O's Story

Published on in #PioneeringIndependentLiving #LearningDisability #VirtualCare #IoT #CareTech #Families #Love, Case Study, Covid-19, Technology section

As part of Loneliness week we are bringing you beautiful examples every day of how the Alcove Video Carephone is being used to connect families, carers and communities.

This is case study 5: Mrs O's Story, provided by her care provider Home First, a provider based in Suffolk County.

Liz has been a carer for as long as she can remember. She cared for both her parents at a young age and also volunteered in her local care home at the age of 14! She loves her job!

As team leader for Home First, her responsibility is to lead a team of reablement support workers, manage any issues and act as a trusted assessor, risk assessor and Manual Handling trainer.

Home First provides reablement to people across Suffolk for an assessment following hospital stays to ascertain the individuals care needs and equipment. Preventing hospital admissions and allowing customers to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.

Her team covers Ipswich and Babergh and over the last few weeks, they have been identifying people who could benefit from an Alcove Video Carephone. They have used some technology in the past, mainly around medication prompts and carousels, but nothing like the Carephone.

A couple of weeks ago, Liz identified that Mrs O would benefit from receiving a device. Mrs O has dementia but has been fairly independent and a creature of habit. She was forgetting her medications and Liz thought a daily video call could prompt her and help her to remember, and that they would also therefore be able to reduce her visits from four a day to three a day, limiting her exposure to possible infection.  

However, recently, Mrs O’s condition has worsened significantly and she has started hallucinating. Liz and her team realised that they can use the Carephone as a wellbeing tool too, helping Mrs O remain lucid during the day and allowing her family to be the main point of contact at night.

Liz says: The device has been amazing. We call Mrs O twice a day now to help stop the hallucinations, while maintaining her regular face-to-face visits. Talking to her carer about everyday things is really helping to normalise her day.  Unfortunately she had actually stopped doing stuff around the house but now she seems really happy. Her daughter told me she is really enjoying it, having a giggle and a laugh which she hasn’t seen her mother do for a while.

“During one of her night episodes Mrs O was thinking of self-harming and she rang her daughter on the Carephone who managed to talk her down. It allowed her family to see her and to be able to calm her. This would have been difficult without the device.”

Liz has another couple in mind, both with memory problems, and she thinks they will be perfect to receive a device. They have tried a tablet in the past but it was too fiddly and had too many passwords which is why she believes the Video Carephone will be excellent for them.

She thinks it will help them with check-ins and medication checks and also link them to their family.

She also believes sensors and additional support technology would really help people like them and Mrs O and give their families peace of mind.

From a provider perspective she says that setting the portal ‘needed a bit of practice’ but she is getting used to using it. She looks forward to exploring some of the functionality such as setting alerts and prompts.

Liz concludes: “The Video Carephone is great for so many people, especially for those who have families that live far away. Lots of people don’t want their families around at this time either and it is a quick and easy way to do a check-in call.

“Once they have started to use it, I am sure they will think of other ways to get benefit, such as maybe linking to their pharmacist, for meds reviews ad ordering prescriptions, or using a befriending service if they’re lonely. There are so many possibilities once they start. If it brings them some relief, as demonstrated with Mrs O, then that’s a really good thing.”