The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the senior living industry in countless ways, with many facilities combating the negative effects with technology. Included in that group is FutureCare Cherrywood of Reisterstown, MD.
The operator was announced as the Gold Award winner in the Building Bridges category of the Skilled Nursing Division of the McKnight’s Tech Awards program on Wednesday. Twelve medalists were named overall in the division, along with 13 in the Senior Living division and six in the Home Care division.
When Cherrywood leaders saw residents suffering because of their forced separation from others, administrator David Insel decided to search for a solution. He was able to find multiple effective avenues to connect with his residents, including TextMagic, Clicksend, Zoom and Calendly.
“I’ve been saying for some time that the isolation has been extremely difficult for residents during the pandemic,” Insel said. “So by being able to increase the communication between the families and residents … It really perked up a lot of the residents’ psyche, as well as their families.”
After realizing he had only a few accurate phone numbers for employees and families, Insel spent days gathering correct information for everyone he needed to reach with TextMagic and ClickSend. Posters went up around the facility to encourage employees to join. A TV channel also was used as an in-house station, so residents could tune in to activities and updates every morning from their room.
Insel wanted to solve the isolation problem, so Cherrywood began a new virtual visitation program using iPads, stands and a new calendar booking system. Separate iPads were purchased for COVID-19 quarantine rooms and regular rooms, meaning no tablets were contaminated if they weren’t meant to be.
“One of the first video visits I was doing … I said, ‘You have a video visit today with your grandchildren,’” Insel said. “They lived in California and only saw her maybe once a year. Suddenly the whole family came on the iPad and the resident just broke down crying tears of joy … That just brought home everything we were doing. It was worth every single second and every penny.”
Other Building Bridges awards in the Skilled Nursing track include:
- Silver: Brick, NJ-based Marquis Health Consulting services, for the Temi Intergenerational Program, a robot that helps seniors express themselves through art and was implemented as an educational outreach program.
- Bronze: Live Oak, FL-based Suwannee Health & Rehabilitation Center, for its use of CallMultiplier as an efficient communication system.
The 2021 McKnight’s Tech Awards winners were announced during an online ceremony Wednesday afternoon that highlighted all finalists and included acceptance speeches by each of the 12 Gold Award winners. The ceremony, and any of the four accompanying Summit webinars, can be viewed in archive for free by registering here to get into the environment.
The 2021 McKnight’s Tech Awards program sponsors are Medline, IN2L, SimplyConnect and Consensus Cloud Solutions.