New tablets keep residents and loved ones connected

As Victoria contends with a grim COVID-19 second wave, HammondCare Caulfield residents like Dennis Dirckze and Kate Ryan have a new way of linking with their loved ones and the world.

tablets 04 580Nine new Samsung Galaxy tablets mean the residents at the aged care home in Melbourne’s southeast can keep in touch with family day and night with internet video calls at a time all aged care homes face a prolonged period of restricted visits.

The Caulfield tablets are among 105 purchased for HammondCare’s residential aged care services from funds raised by the HammondCare Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Support Appeal.

Mr Dirckze, a resident of The Glenns at Caulfield, is appreciative of how the tablets keep him engaged with his family.

tablets 07 580“If we did not have these tablets it would be terrible, it’s so nice to be able to see the faces of people as well as hear a familiar voice,” Mr Dirckze said.

For other residents, the tablets offer the added benefit of enabling engagement with some much-loved activities like music therapy, or entertainment in their own language through a wifi connection.

Kate can now listen to her favourite R&B tunes - some upbeat Beyonce, Aretha Franklin or Stevie Wonder - or watch some YouTube music clips.

“It’s such fun, it’s great seeing movies at the same time with the music, especially as I don’t get any visitors,” she said.

Another resident was able to hold an online 90th birthday party with all her family with conversation in her Russian mother tongue.

The Glenns Clinical Care Manager, Amiben Patel, said the new devices increase the number of tablets that had previously been available to residents.

While HammondCare has continued to allow carefully screened visits to its residential care homes throughout the pandemic within government guidelines, mandatory restrictions on visits to aged care homes were put in place in Victoria by the Department of Health and Human Services on July 11.

“Visitors are only permitted in exceptional circumstances, such as where a resident is undergoing palliative care, so these tablets help enormously keep the residents in touch with the world,” Ms Patel said.

She said staff at HammondCare Caulfield are also using the tablets to help residents access telehealth services.

While Caulfied received nine of the devices, services in Hammondville received 20 tablets; Waratah 19; Cardiff 9; Miranda 8; Strathearn 7; while 6 each went to Horsley, North Turramurra, Wahroonga and Woy Woy. Erina received 5 and Darlinghurst 4. The tablets began to be rolled out in late March with the final batch distributed in June.

The COVID-19 Community Support Appeal has raised more than $104,000 thorugh the generosity of donors to support Hammondcare residents and clients during the pandemic. As well as the tablets, more than 600 “care boxes” overflowing with groceries were delivered for free to HammondCare At Home clients, many who have struggled with isolation and a shortage of supplies.

CAPTIONS: Top - Pastoral Care Coordinator Isobella Landolino helps resident Kate Ryan enjoy some of her favourite music with a tablet provided by the HammondCare Foundation. Bottom: Resident Dennis Dirckze chats online with popular volunteer Barry who usually joins residents for a cuppa but is not able to visit at present.

Please help us by making a donation to the COVID-19 Community Support Appeal