ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

Full Report 27 Photo: Jack Lowe During Covid-19 Our instincts around the need for digital infrastructure in care homes became starkly clear as homes rushed to install communication speakers through windows, acclimatise residents to the use of Zoom, and upskill care workers in time-consuming software and hardware operation. Excelcare bought additional iPads and mobile phones for all its homes during the first months of lockdown to ensure staff could support and enhance direct communications between residents and their friends and families. Had the pandemic struck just three months later, curious directive would have been further on in its experimentation with digital communication, and in a position to offer more significant infrastructure and support with creating a more connected experience for residents. In spite of the significant national restrictions placed on visiting care homes, and on bringing in equipment or materials, we were determined to use our skills to try to bring something to the residents of Longfield. Therefore, in collaboration with Paula, we worked to create a ‘Sensory Room’ for residents still restricted to their rooms on a day-to-day basis to support infection control. We worked to install (via a sanitised delivery package and with the use of radio communication through windows) a comforting soundscape made up of familiar sounds to one individual resident, an aromatherapy corner and a digitally mapped videoscape loop – projecting onto the ceiling where a resident was lying in their bed, facing up. The idea was to create this installation for the resident, who at this stage was far along their dementia journey, offering variety and new experiences to break up the day. Paula reported that our chosen resident displayed a positive change in mood and was transfixed by the images on the ceiling. Truly, these small interventions felt like a significant step forward in our approach to using digital technology post-pandemic. Our belief in the power of the wider use of technology to reduce isolation and loneliness in care homes continues to this day. Re-engagement 2021-2022 With visiting allowed once more, Jack spent an entire week in residency at Longfield, getting to know the residents again. During this time, he participated in many aspects of the home, exploring the activities, lifestyle and what it is that residents were missing after lockdown. Overwhelmingly, it became clear that residents missed interacting with their families. Geography seemed to be a major factor. Jack undertook a series of conversations with Deloitte Digital and other world-leading communications consultants to see if there was something simple off-the-shelf which could be installed, at first in three rooms and then potentially across the entire home. Jack began working with the Scandinavian company called KOMP, who established the world’s first one-way, single button communication device.