Woffington House Care Home – Using digital technology improves wellbeing and reduces need for medication

Woffington House is an innovative care home for seniors in Tredegar. They receive regular visits from local schoolchildren who come to befriend the residents and teach them how to use digital technology. These visits alongside digital training for staff has lead to a dramatic improvement in the wellbeing of residents.

See this page in: Cymraeg

Woffington House is an innovative care home for seniors in Tredegar. The care home has developed a partnership with local primary schools, whereby schoolchildren visit residents on a regular basis. Children from Georgetown Primary School have been Digital Heroes, befriending residents and showing them how to use technology, using tablets loaned by Digital Communities Wales. Residents particularly enjoy visiting places they used to go to, online.

Ken (not his real name) has lived at Woffington House for over two years. He has no family and has no visitors. He suffers with anxiety, mild depression and lives with dementia. At times he would bite his knuckles and hit door frames because of his frustrations. He was prescribed Lorazepam when necessary. Using an iPad and Virtual Reality glasses, Ken has been able to revisit Aberystwyth in 1965 as well as go on rollercoaster rides. He also loves looking up songs using YouTube. Ken’s health and well-being has improved dramatically and gone are the days of anti-psychotic medications.

Ken has also been researching pigeon racing with the children. The children are now going to come to the home and extend the activity further by letting off racing pigeons from the care home car park. Ken’s hobby has been brought to real life as a result of the Digital Heroes scheme.

Ken’s experience is typical in the care home, where anti-psychotic medication on an “as required” basis has been reduced by 100%. Falls have also been reduced significantly and ambulance call outs (which cost the NHS £300 a time) have been reduced by 28%. Furthermore, staff morale has been boosted – and primary school children say they want to work in care professions when they grow up.

To find out more about Digital Communities Wales and the support it offers, visit the dedicated website.

This case study was written as part of a report commissioned by the Wales Co-operative Centre and the Carnegie Trust. Written by Bob Gann, the report, Digital inclusion in health and care in Wales, looks at the tangible benefits that digital technology can bring to health and care settings, and sets out steps to improve healthcare services and reduce the digital divide. Read the report now.