Essex County Council is rolling out a new response to the COVID-19 crisis, by providing virtual care and wellbeing support to vulnerable or shielded people.
Working in partnership with healthcare consultancy RETHINK Partners and care-tech firm Alcove, the council will be delivering 2,000 Video Carephones to people in Essex to supplement face-to-face contact, aid social distancing and support emerging needs related to COVID-19.
The Alcove Video Carephone enables users to make video calls to pre-identified services, such as paid care, via a locked down tablet and a web portal.
Responders can use the Alcove app/web site to make calls, issue reminders and prompts which will allow the continuity of care and ensure general health and wellbeing.
Users are being supported to set up the devices remotely and their friends and family members can also be added during set-up.
Cllr Spence from Essex County Council said: “We are delighted to be leading this exciting project. This is a limited offer that we are providing for 2,000 of our most vulnerable service users and those who can get the most benefit. It not only will provide people with care and support calls, but help them with loneliness and to connect more easily with the support networks in their community.
“Over the coming weeks, we will be capturing some of the good news stories from our users which help us shape our longer term care technology strategy.”
Clare Morris, chief executive of RETHINK Partners said: “During the coronavirus outbreak, we are using the device to connect people to their regular services allowing much of this to be provided remotely and without contact.
“This includes paid care, supported discharge from hospital, scheduled check-ins and prompts for people with mental health issues and contact for people with learning disabilities, who may be missing out on regular visits to day centres. We are also linking in with the Essex Welfare Service to ensure daily living needs are met such as shopping and prescription collection for those who are shielding or self-isolating.”
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.”