On the 2nd April 2020, it was announced that the coronavirus pandemic had officially surpassed 1 million cases globally. As the situation has developed, many countries have introduced social distancing and enforced various closures, including those of schools and restaurants, in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
To protect those identified as high risk, for example the elderly, many social restrictions were implemented as early as possible. Though necessary, these restrictions have been difficult for families and friends, especially in cases where relatives are residents within a care home. Often residents will rely on family visits for socialisation and with health concerns weighing on people’s minds, it is even harder for families to be separated from their loved ones. With this in mind communication has never been more essential.
Since nursing homes often house many residents, communication with families can be a challenge. For instance, it is unlikely that staff will have the time to assist with calls for each resident but, thankfully due to technology, there are ways to communicate which are less labour intensive. Using our robust platform, the care home team can send bulk messages to families in just a few simple steps. These messages can then be used in the following ways to help residents and families feel more connected during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Notify families of changes and send relevant updates
While nursing homes aren’t currently allowing visitors, it is vital to keep families reassured and notified of any changes. A simple message with details on any new measures the home has introduced to ensure resident safety, could help keep family concerns to a minimum and potentially save a lot of staff time answering phone calls.
Furthermore, once visits can be reintroduced, you can update all resident families almost immediately by sending a bulk text message that includes information on visiting times. And, if these times differ according to different medical care schedules, you can segment your contact lists as appropriate to ensure each family receives relevant information.
Enable two-way communication
By setting up a virtual mobile number, not only can your organisation send messages directly to recipients, but they can also reply. So, families can reply with a short message which staff can then relay onto residents. This could help families feel more connected and alleviate feelings of loneliness. And as all replies are received into your account inbox, all staff can access messages, so even if there is a shift change, messages can still be passed on in a timely manner.
Send families personalised updates
As well as being able to send ad hoc messages, you can also personalise bulk messages with information like resident names. This small touch could go a long way to making families feel more at ease. Moreover as SMS benefits from a 95% average open rate and 90% of all messages are read within 3 minutes, you can be confident your updates are received and read within minutes, helping families feel more connected.
At a time like this, communication is crucial and there are many different technologies both families and nursing homes can utilise to make things that little bit easier.