Video conferencing enriches lives in nursing home

Residents at nursing homes in Taiwan who used video conferencing to keep in touch with family, have told how the technology enriched their lives.

Thirty-four residents from ten nursing homes took part in the study, which featured in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing. The group, made up of 18 women and 16 men had an average age of 75 years old, they all agreed the experience enriched their lives and just under two-thirds said it was the next best thing to having family visit them. A third of the group said it gave them a true picture of family life.

Each video conferencing session lasted approximately 12 minutes. 12 per cent took place daily, 47 per cent took place weekly, 23 per cent happened monthly whilst 18 per cent happened occasionally.

Professor Yun-Fang Tsai, Chair of the School of Nursing at Chang Gung University in Taiwan told Medical News Today: “A trained research assistant helped the residents speak to their spouse, child or grandchild using video conferencing technology. At the end of the three month study period, all the participants took part in in-depth interviews.”

Some residents had anxieties about relatives that were unable to visit, but the study found that video conferencing helped alleviate some of these feelings. One resident was cited as saying: “My son lives in America and has his own business. He only has time to visit me once or twice a year. Via video conference, I have the chance to see my son, grandson and so on.”

Professor Tsai added: “We were very pleased with the positive reactions this initiative received. It proved a simple way to enrich the lives of people in nursing homes and enable them to be a part of family life.”