Essex County Council - Care technology helping the vulnerable during Covid-19 with the issue of 2,000 Alcove Video Carephones

In partnership with RETHINK Partners and Alcove ECC are rolling-out a new and innovative response to the COVID-19 crisis, by providing virtual care and health and wellbeing support to vulnerable or shielded people.

ECC are delivering 2,000 Video Carephones to vulnerable people in Essex with the aim to supplement face-to-face contact, aid social distancing and support emerging needs related to COVID-19. It also ensures that staff and their families will be protected from infection and can continue to work during this time.

The Alcove Video Carephone is an integrated, easy-to-use device which enables users to make video calls to pre-identified services via a locked down tablet and a web portal. Responders can use the Alcove app/web site to make calls, issue reminders and prompts which will allow the continuity of care and ensure general health and wellbeing.

Users are being supported to set up the devices remotely and their friends and family members can also be added during set-up. One user said that she's 'thrilled' to have the device and it has allowed her to see a long-lost school friend who she hasn’t met face-to-face for years. She has also managed to get shopping and basic essentials through the Help@home service provided with the device.

Essex County Councillor John Spence, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: "We are delighted to be leading this exciting project. This is a limited offer that we are providing for 2,000 of our most vulnerable service users and those who can get the most benefit. It not only will provide people with care and support calls, but help them with loneliness and to connect more easily with the support networks in their community."

Clare Morris, chief executive of RETHINK Partners said: "During the coronavirus outbreak, we are using the device to connect people to their regular services allowing much of this to be provided remotely and without contact. This includes paid care, supported discharge from hospital, scheduled check-ins and prompts for people with mental health issues and contact for people with learning disabilities, who may be missing out on regular visits to day centres. We are also linking in with the Essex Welfare Service to ensure daily living needs are met such as shopping and prescription collection for those who are shielding or self-isolating."

Hellen Bowey, founder and owner of Alcove said: "This opportunity to deliver simple video tech is really helping to support people in the community quickly and easily - combatting loneliness and isolation, whilst also delivering benefits to already stretched providers. Our one-touch Video Carephones allow us to deploy easy-to-use technology as a solution to the current situation – without users needing to understand how to use Zoom or Skype, and not leave those without their own smart devices behind, whilst the rest of us adapt to a virtual world. Users are already discovering the immense benefits of being digitally enabled.”

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