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Pilot Project Provides Digital Connection for Older Summit County Residents

A photo of the Summit County Nursing Home Task Force from their meeting.
The Summit County Nursing Home Task Force discussed some of their plans today.

The local agency on aging is piloting a program to provide devices and internet access to older people. The goal is to reduce social isolation and help people stay connected to loves ones and caregivers.

Direction Home chief operating officer Abby Morgan described the program to the Summit County nursing home task force today. Morgan says so far they’ve made 37 devices available to community members living on their own.                              

“We’re really trying to- through this pilot, identify the way that people want to connect while staying safe, and staying home for those that need to.”

Morgan says Direction Home hopes to expand the program, offering devices and resources to people living in Nursing Homes.

She says participants can access classes to promote wellness, such as Tai Chi and personal development such as sketching and journaling.

Funding from the federal CARES act has helped to support the program.

Task force member Stephanie Chambers will also launch a blog next month to help people navigate nursing home care.

And the task force is considering a plan to train nursing home staff on ways to provide better customer service.

Direction Home’s care quality improvement coordinator Julie Esack shared a proposed project addressing customer service within these facilities.

Direction Home's care quality improvement coordinator Julie Esack explains the project.

“By developing a customer service culture, it would be necessary to have open and honest communication with families, residents and employees. Employees would be more engaged, more empowered, and more likely to advocate for their patients.”

The customer service project will target five areas: the admissions process, dining experiences, the nursing home environment, patient’s emotional needs and staff engagement.

The nursing home task force was launched ten months ago in an effort to improve care after a now-closed facility in Copley was flagged as one of the worst in the country.