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Digital Communities Wales – supporting the care sector to maximise the benefits of digital technology

In this series of articles, we will be sharing information about how care home residents and staff have been using digital technology, provided by Digital Communities Wales (DCW) since the start of the pandemic.

Tablet Loan Scheme

With tablets provided as part of DCW’s Care Home and Sheltered housing scheme, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, residents have been making the most of a variety of digital resources.

“They have been using the tablets to stay in touch with family and friends, to do shopping online and to manage money online” said Louise Blackwell, Clwyd Alyn’s Community Development Manager.

Staff in Clwyd Alyn’s care homes have fed back to DCW numerous positive outcomes around resident’s’ independence in respects of self-care, with reports of residents using the devices to participate in exercise classes, attend GP appointments, and access apps to help with both physical and mental health and wellbeing. One home was delighted to inform DCW that a resident has reduced their drinking as a result of watching motivational videos online.

“The impact of these projects has been more far-reaching than we’d anticipated…One of our residents loved using the device to look back at the town where she grew up saying it was one of the best mornings she’d had in a long time” continued Louise.  “The pandemic has really highlighted the importance of digital technology, enabling people to maintain connections and how important that is for wellbeing.”

Other digital interventions

Prior to the pandemic DCW had undertaken a significant level of work with Clwyd Alyn, delivering sessions designed to inspire digital activity within care settings. This included the use of VR as a means of reminiscence and relaxation.

As a result of this, DCW supported Clwyd Alyn to secure funding from Wrexham Council’s Community Cohesion fund to purchase five VR Oculus headsets and these were distributed to five extra care schemes across Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire, and Conwy. The staff and Digital Champions received training from DCW on how to use them with suggestions for different activities.

“Introducing elderly residents to VR has been a great way to show them how they can ‘re-experience’ things they may no longer be able to do. We had a lady in a wheelchair and her daughter suggested we look for the little village where she had grown up. Being able to show her that – she immediately recognised it and started to cry. It can be really emotional.”

To learn more about how DCW could help you make the most of digital technology please visit our website https://www.digitalcommunities.gov.wales/ or contact us on 0300 111 5050. All of our services are free of charge and we’d love to help you make the most of what digital technology has to offer.