Keeping Connected during COVID25 November, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges. One of the biggest has been the loss of vital contact with family and friends through the need to socially distance or isolate.
Keeping our residents in touch with their loved ones during the pandemic.
The closure of borders and regional travel restrictions have meant families have gone months without being able to see each other in person. These restrictions have been especially hard for older people, as Government advice has also meant they’ve stayed at home for longer or been unable to receive visitors within residential care.
While these restrictions are now easing, Amana Living moved swiftly at the start of the pandemic to put steps in place to help residents keep touch with their family. Our team moved quickly to source technology that could be used for video and phone calls across all of our residential care centres.
It was a huge effort. We deployed more than 100 devices across Amana Living, trained occupational therapy assistants (OTA) on how to set up the device, and contacted families to offer them the opportunity to take part in the program we called Keep Connected.
Since starting the program, we’ve organised more than 1000 calls.
One OTA from Wearne House in Mandurah has connected 41 out of 47 residents with families and friends, setting up over 236 calls totalling 5,427 minutes in a matter of months.
But the Keep Connected program is more than just calls and minutes. The stories of family connection have been heart-warming, and the program has truly made a difference.
Ryan Fomiatti lives in London and his grandmother, Lorna, resides at St George’s Care Centre in Bayswater. Ryan told us: "Using Skype to connect with my nanna has been a great experience. Living overseas it has been difficult at times to be able to feel connected, yet using Skype has meant that I am able to engage, say I love you and provide small updates about how my life is. It has allowed the simple pleasure of being able to make my nanna smile and hear her laugh.”
The program has enabled residents to witness their great grandchildren open their birthday presents. It’s seen residents sit at the virtual head of the table to enjoy a family dinner. There’s been special appearances from much-loved family pets, and joint calls between daughters, sons, aunts, uncles and more. It’s even allowed one daughter see her mum walk for the first time in seven months.
This program has brought people together, it’s given our staff an even deeper relationship with residents and their families, and it has proven that human connection will always triumph in times of adversity.
Residents and families can access the Keep Connected program by speaking to staff at their residential care centre or contacting the site administrators.