With visiting restrictions in place at long-term care facilities across Canada due to COVID-19, families in every community are facing challenges. As part of a new initiative, Connecting with Compassion, UBC faculty and students are looking to technology to help families stay connected with their loved ones and combat the social isolation being felt by seniors living in long-term care homes across B.C.
“Long-term care facilities are home to some of society’s most vulnerable—often frail seniors with pre-existing health conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. These seniors depend on their loved ones for social companionship, and right now those usual ways of connection are gone,” says UBC’s Dr. Roger Wong, Clinical Professor of Geriatric Medicine in the Faculty Of Medicine, who is helping lead the new initiative.
The Connecting with Compassion team is delivering new iPads to long-term care homes across the province in hopes of facilitating virtual visits and connections among family and friends. The iPads will arrive pre-loaded with videoconferencing programs, such as FaceTime, Zoom and Skype, as well as a host of other apps designed to keep seniors engaged.
The new UBC initiative, made possible through the generosity of Dr. Edwin S.H. Leong, isn’t just about keeping in touch with old connections. It’s also about making new ones, says the initiative’s co-lead, Dr. Mark Fok, clinical Assistant Professor of Geriatric Medicine, who has been working on the front-lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.
As part of the initiative, UBC medical students based in communities across the province will be playing an active role, volunteering their time to virtually visit and connect with residents in long-term care homes every week.
As we all navigate the pandemic, UBC is committed to aligning our efforts, academically and in the community, with priority issues in British Columbia and beyond (Strategy 16: Public Relevance).
Read the full story on the Faculty of Medicine website.