The Council has distributed Facebook Portal devices to care homes so residents can stay in touch with their loved ones and reduce their social isolation during the coronavirus lockdown.
Working in collaboration with NHS partners, 17 of these devices have been sent to learning disability care homes across the borough in a bid to keep residents from feeling lonely whilst social distancing restrictions are in place.
Families and friends can be connected via the portals enabling them to be more involved in supporting their loved ones.fe
A total of 45 devices have been sent to elderly persons care homes including one device which was sent to York House in Dewsbury.
The lockdown has been difficult for residents in York House because they are usually a very busy home, with family members visiting all day.
Staff were acutely aware of isolation and loneliness and they made sure that all residents were well supported.
Rachel Beech, Home Manager at York House said:v“When we got the Facebook Portal we immediately set up the York House page to enable residents’ loved ones to get in touch. We have a dementia suite and it is those residents that have spoken to family callers. The positive reactions have been heart-warming to witness and we are determined to encourage these moments.
“The kind donation by Kirklees Council has been really good for many of the residents. It has been lovely to watch their faces light up when they see a loved one.”
The devices received are the council’s share of a national initiative from Facebook in which 2,000 devices are being deployed into care homes across the country to tackle loneliness.
Kirklees Council is playing a national role in combatting loneliness. The Chief Librarian of Kirklees Libraries, Carol Stump, has been invited to join the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Tackling Loneliness Network as part of her upcoming role as President of Libraries Connected.
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council said: “I am absolutely amazed to hear of the wonderful reactions to the Facebook Portals that have been sent to our care homes in Kirklees.
“The restrictions brought about by the Covid19 lockdown have demonstrated the key role that digital technologies now play in all our lives. The council and its health partners are exploring how devices that facilitate communication across an increasingly connected world can be utilised more effectively to bring real health and social care benefits to the residents of Kirklees.
“Loneliness in lockdown is terrible and adds more anxiety to those who suffer from this. I was very pleased to hear the portals have kept people in touch with loved ones.
"We have delivered the portals directly to each care home to make sure our most vulnerable residents do not feel lonely during this time.
"I look forward to hearing how care homes will use the portals in other ways to support residents in the future. There are huge opportunities we can take full advantage of and this is what we will do.”