Suffolk County Virtual Care Response to Covid-19 Crisis with Alcove Video Carephone 1,000 Home Roll Out

Suffolk County Council, in partnership with RETHINK Partners and Alcove are providing virtual care and support to vulnerable or shielded people.

Suffolk County Council, in partnership with RETHINK Partners and Alcove, has launched a new and innovative response to the COVID-19 crisis, by providing virtual care and support to vulnerable or shielded people.

The service is provided through the rapid roll-out of the Alcove Video Carephone, a simple communication device that allows people with little or no technological ability to have two-way video contact with care workers, family members and other approved service providers. This will help with tasks that don’t require face-to-face visits and therefore limit their exposure to infection. For example, carers can check visually if medications are being taken, set prompts and reminders or carry out welfare and wellbeing checks.

Users are being supported to set up the Alcove Video Carephones remotely and their friends and family members can also be added during set-up. The Council is working closely with care providers and partners to identify the most appropriate people, to receive the device.

Kevin Francis, Care Director at Potsford Care said:

"The Video Carephone is brilliant and we are already seeing the benefits to our clients and staff. We can check in on people without exposing them or our staff to infection and helps keep them connected to their friends. The feedback so far has been excellent and one of our users said he is ‘thrilled’ with his device".

Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care, said:

"We are rolling out 1,000 of the Video Carephones to those people in our communities who would benefit most from this kind of support. The service will supplement regular care visits and allow residents to receive care virtually for identified tasks. Those people who need face-to-face care will of course, still receive that level of care.

“There is also the added benefit that friends and family can check-in on their loved ones at any time. This initiative is a prime example of how technology can enhance the care and support provided by carers, helping to keep people connected whilst also providing that extra support.”

Clare Morris, chief executive of RETHINK Partners said:

"We are really excited to be working with local councils to roll-out the Video Carephone and to help people stay connected with their regular services – especially while isolating or shielding. This project demonstrates how care technology can enhance existing services and provide a real benefit to local residents.”

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.”