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State grant allows nursing residents to connect to family via technology

State grant allows nursing residents to connect to family via technology
Posted at 2:55 PM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 21:19:11-04

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, interacting with other people became difficult. Connecting with family members in nursing homes became almost non-existent.

Nursing facilities across the nation began conducting visits between residents and visitors through plexiglass or glass doors.

On May 27, Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Health and Human Services announced a $3.6 million grant to help nursing-facility residents connect with their families more easily.

Any Texas nursing facility provider is encouraged to apply; The $3,000 grant can be used to buy tablets, webcams and headphones for nursing-facility residents.

"It is designed to connect residents with their families," said Mirador Retirement Community Director of Engagement Todd Partin.

Mirador currently has several tablets available for residents to use to stay in touch with loved ones, but Partin said it plans to apply for the grant and to receive enough devices for every seven to eight residents.

He also said the technology comes in handy in other ways, such as making doctor's visits easier, allowing physicians to "assess and look at residents, and have that interaction via telehealth."

The devices Mirador currently use are sanitized and disinfected between each use.

Alice resident Irma Godines speaks to her 89-year-old mother, Josefa Perez Medellin, every Saturday between 9-10 a.m.

Godines said this is the only interaction they are able to have because of COVID-19 concerns.

"When you’re face-to-face, you can hold her, you can kiss her, hug her," she said. "There’s no telling when we’ll see her again, and hopefully when we do, she’ll still be alive."

Godines feels these devices are important since they are the sole connection to family members.

"When you talk to her, when you see her, it stays with you . . . until the next time," she said.