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Wellesley Coronavirus Grants Fund New Technology At Nursing Home

WELLESLEY, MA — The latest round of grants from Wellesley’s coronavirus relief grant program awarded over $6,000 to a nursing and rehabilitation facility. Elizabeth Seton Residence in Wellesley was awarded $6,779 — the bulk of which will be used on new technology to keep residents connected but safe in the age of COVID-19.

This latest round of grants brings the total amount of money awarded by the COVID-19 Relief Fund to nearly $94,000 in 10 weeks.

The grant money for Elizabeth Seton Residence will pay for:

• Boogie Board Writing Tablets to help caregivers better communicate with residents. Wearing masks eliminates visual cues between nursing staff and residents and creates frustration. Grant money will purchase 86 tablets for resident rooms that can be quickly used to communicate information and needs. The tablets can also be easily sanitized.

• PockeTalkers and Headphones will enhance the quality of communication between residents and families. Many elderly residents have difficulty hearing or become frustrated when hearing is impacted by other noises during socially distanced visits and online conversations with families. These tools will greatly help to improve resident visits and satisfaction. Eight PockeTalkers and 50 personal headsets will be purchased with this grant.

• Hygienica Electro-Hygiene Atomizing Technology Disinfecting equipment has recently become available to purchase; it’s been out of stock since February. Long-term care facilities are following strict cleaning protocols. This technology along with standard cleaning and disinfecting protocols will significantly improve the facility’s ability to disinfect large areas more thoroughly and in a much more efficient manner.

• Webcams and Speakers are another communication enhancement that will improve resident care. Meetings with families, including care planning meetings with residents, are now carried out by telephone and without visual cues, the residents and rehabilitation patients often can’t follow phone calls and don’t know who is speaking. The cameras and speakers will be used to hold video Zoom calls and provide hardware for clinicians who do not have cameras or speakers on computers.

“The support of the Wellesley Covid-19 Relief Fund has been invaluable to the Elizabeth Seton Residence Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation facility during this challenging time. As we continue to practice safe distancing while wearing masks, communication with our nursing home residents is extremely difficult. Nursing staff and residents struggle to ensure they understand each other, while families and residents are frustrated during their outside visits in our courtyard because masks muffle voices from six feet away,” said Lori Ferrante, Elizabeth Seton Residence administrator. “Through the support of the Wellesley COVID-19 Relief Fund, we are now able to enhance the quality of our residents’ social and clinical interactions. These innovative, low-tech solutions immediately reduce frustration and enable clearer communication for all our residents.”

The Wellesley COVID-19 Relief Fund is a partnership between The Community Fund for Wellesley, an endowed fund of the Foundation for MetroWest, a tax exempt 501(c)3 organization, and the Wellesley Board of Selectmen, that addresses unmet needs in the community resulting from the coronavirus crisis. Grant proposals are reviewed by the members of the COVID-19 Relief Fund Committee which is composed of community members, elected officials and staff from the Town of Wellesley, and are awarded to local non-profits and Town departments on a rapid and rolling basis.

This article originally appeared on the Wellesley Patch