To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to ensure that care homes have the technological capability to (a) maintain social contact and (b) preserve cognitive ability for people affected by dementia during the covid-19 outbreak.
The Department, Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission and the National Health Service have published guidance on the care of residents in care homes, including those with dementia. It asks care homes to consider alternatives to in-person visiting, including use of telephones or video, or the use of plastic or glass barriers between residents and visitors. NHSX has rapidly established a team to support those who are vulnerable, isolated or in social care with technology during Coronavirus (Covid-19). The team has taken several steps to ensure that care homes have the technological capability to maintain social contact for their residents, including: a pilot of 2,050 Facebook Portal devices, and negotiating broadband deals to make sure care homes have the connectivity to access video calls. Twelve of the major telecoms providers have also agreed to work with care homes that have slow, or no broadband connections, to improve connectivity wherever possible. A number of offers have recently been made available to care homes.