Up to 11,000 iPad tablets, worth £7.5 million, will be distributed to thousands of care homes.
Care homes will be given iPads to help residents keep in touch with their loved ones and reduce the risk of loneliness, NHS Digitial has announced.
Up to 11,000 iPad tablets, worth £7.5 million, will be distributed to thousands of care homes across England to support residents and staff and reduce the risk of infection from people going into homes as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
The iPads will also mean care home staff can easily access digital health services, including virtual appointments for residents when appropriate, to further reduce the risk of transmission from visitors.
Each tablet device will be ready to use straight out of the box and include a 12-month support package and also, for care homes without full access to wifi, a data-enabled SIM card.
Care homes that lack modern devices or struggle with their internet connection will be prioritised.
Conservative MP and Minister for Care, Helen Whately said: “We’ve set out our plan to make sure social care has what it needs throughout winter to keep coronavirus at bay and provide the care so many rely on. But we know one of the hardest things during the pandemic has been the restrictions on visiting, keeping families away from their loved ones.
“I have heard from many people about the pain of not being able to visit, not being able to hug or even hold the hand of their husband or wife, father or mother. I know iPads won’t solve this problem and connecting via a device doesn’t work for everyone, but it will help some families stay in touch.
“Some care homes have also found remote consultations with GPs really valuable during the pandemic, so for those who don’t have the devices to do so, these iPads will make a difference.
“This is one more step in our strategy to support social care to look after those most at risk from Covid during this winter.”