Care Community stories

Meaningful relationships through virtual visits

3rd April 2020 | 5 mins

Savi Netherby

Life as we know it has changed significantly for everyone in 2020 but particularly for our elderly population living in residential care, whose connection to the community has until now been largely through visitors and excursions out into the community. In the current environment restricted access to residential care homes is vital to protect the health and safety of our residents, team, and all frontline health workers.

At the forefront of our minds during this change, is ensuring our residents can maintain the relationships that are important to them and that their families have different ways to stay connected with their loved ones. We have accelerated our tech program and are successfully using a variety of different applications for telehealth consultations with doctors, and for virtual visits between residents and their families.

Stories are pouring in from our homes, sharing the ways in which our residents and their loved ones are connecting through technology. While the jury is out on which platform is the winner, we have seen FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, the ancient art of letter writing and board messages are written and sent around the globe. As we roll out FaceTime across our Care Communities, undertake hours of FaceTime training with our team and start to log up thousands of minutes of call time with hundreds of residents and families, we are truly changing the nature of our social connections.

Savi at Wahroonga Place Care Community in Sydney was enjoying some quality on-line conversation with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren who live in America.

We are improving our access to the technology at speed, to ensure our residents have every opportunity possible to engage both socially and in stimulating ways with the people who are most important to them.

Elva Berkeley Vale

Elva tried out a Skype video call for the first time with her daughter and shed a few happy tears. Her daughter was even able to make a video call on her phone to Elva’s son and granddaughter so that Elva could say hello to them as well. With FaceTime rolling out we can now set up a family conference chat for all three generations.

Joseph watches his church service

For Joseph, his connection with the church is an essential part of his connection to the community and we were conscious that this would become challenging when Restricted Access came into effect. Joseph’s church group usually visits our home once a month and conducts a church service. Last Sunday, Joseph was able to use one of our care home’s tablets to watch a live service, and next week we will be able to set it up on a big screen in the lounge room.

  • Nurturing meaningful connections is one of the most important ways we can support our residents’ wellbeing during these times of restricted access and our team has been instrumental in enabling the use of these platforms.

With every Opal care homemaking tablets available to our residents, and training in FaceTime continuing over the coming weeks, we aim to engage as many of our regular visitors and families as possible through virtual visits.

Stories from across our Care Communities