Zoom’s Critical Role Connecting and Supporting People in Residential Aged Care
Zoom is instrumental in how those living in Opal HealthCare's network are connecting - and thriving.
At Opal HealthCare, our residents represent 26 different nationalities, who are used to talking in their own language. For those families to continue to connect and be able to speak together in their first language with no barriers, has been a great relief to them. One [resident] was able to meet her great-granddaughter for the first time over a Zoom call. These moments are just so important.
Roseanne CartwrightDirector of Communications and Community Engagement, Opal HealthCare
Opal HealthCare manages 80 residential aged Care Communities located in metro and regional areas across Australia. They have a key purpose: to bring joy to the people they care for.
These communities are a world away from the traditional idea of aged care, and Zoom is playing an instrumental role in how those living in aged care are thriving.
Roseanne Cartwright, Opal HealthCare’s Director of Communications and Community Engagement, says the COVID-19 pandemic has provided their team with a unique opportunity to find solutions that give residents special experiences even when they can’t interact with people in person.
“For our residents and families, the most difficult part of COVID is not being able to see one another in-person for, at times, many months,” Cartwright said. “So, for our residents, there was a gap in the connections they’d normally have.”
An answer in Zoom
The Opal HealthCare team decided the best way forward in helping residents cope with COVID restrictions – and missing seeing their loved ones – was to roll out an additional 340 tablet devices to their Care Communities.
They also trained more than 360 team members to use Zoom’s video communications platform, and the benefits were immediate. According to Cartwright, Zoom enabled residents and families to connect daily or weekly – or whenever they wanted to chat to friends and family – via video calling.
“The ability to see your loved ones face to face, and to have that peace of mind, knowing that they look good and they’re comfortable – this has been enormously important to both our families and our residents,” Cartwright said.
“At Opal HealthCare, our residents represent 26 different nationalities, who are used to talking in their own language. For those families to continue to connect and be able to speak together in their first language with no barriers, has been a great relief to them. One [resident] was able to meet her great-granddaughter for the first time over a Zoom call. These moments are just so important.”
Tech has no age limits
What’s been inspirational for the team at Opal HealthCare is seeing how well technology is able to play a role in residential aged care. Residents who might never have used any kind of tech before, are now embracing Zoom and willing to learn as much as they can.
“With Zoom, many residents are getting so excited about what they can do. They’re feeling really included in the community because now they’re using the same technology that their grandchildren are using,” Cartwright said.
“Our residents love using the iPads for their Zoom calls, and they know just how to do it. We’ve got specially designed cases, which are easy for them to hold, and we have team members ready to assist when necessary.
“We have a great deal of enthusiasm from residents who are looking forward to their daily or weekly Zoom calls. And another great opportunity via Zoom is being able to connect team members from across our Opal network around Australia.”
Opal HealthCare’s Chief Information Officer, Tan Nguyen, says residents have enjoyed more than 700,000 “Zoom minutes,” so there’s no doubt their love of Zoom will go well beyond the pandemic.
“I think it’s really exciting that residents, of any age, can come into our Care Community wanting to learn a new skill: technology. At Opal, we are lucky to have innovation as one of the key pillars within our strategy,” Nguyen said.
“There are many examples of how residents have adapted to using Zoom, but it’s also beyond just interacting and talking with their family members. There have been times when a resident hasn’t been able to attend a wedding, for example, so the wedding has been streamed over Zoom. It feels very fulfilling for us that we’re able to bring them that experience, all through the use of Zoom.”
The future of aged care
The Opal HealthCare team is working to further improve resident care, building out its innovation team so that Opal remains at the forefront of aged care. Tech – and Zoom – will continue to play a major role in future plans.
Roseanne says that when it comes to Zoom in aged care, there are endless possibilities.
“There is no stopping us. Our innovation team is working incredibly hard. What can we do next? When people think of Opal HealthCare, we want them to think that everything is possible,” Roseanne said.
“For residents in our care, who are increasingly tech-savvy, we’ve got to be at the forefront. We want them to think, no matter what their circumstances, everybody has the opportunity to live in our care with love, purpose, and belonging – and being able to continue to do the things that are unique to them.”
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