Live from the nursing home: videoconferencing enriches residents' lives, study shows

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Videoconferencing isn't just for high-powered professionals anymore. New research finds that communicating with family via video screen enriches the lives of nursing home residents.

Using Internet-based communication tools from SKYPE or MSN, researchers at Chang Gung University in Taiwan helped 34 residents at 10 nursing homes communicate with family members via videoconferencing. All 18 women and 16 men reported that the experience enriched their lives, according to the report. Each resident used the videoconferencing differently, with 12% of family “visits” taking place daily, 47% weekly, 23% monthly and 18% occasionally. The average chat lasted 12 minutes. After a three-month study period, residents answered questions about their experiences.

Participating residents said the experience helped them to feel they were a part of family life. Some residents spoke with sons or daughters who live in other countries. The report, as well as resident reactions to the videoconferencing program, appears in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
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