Video Calls for Nursing Home Residents

My hip 80-something mother-in-law uses Skype’s free video calls to view the family as she talks with them over the computer. I’d like to see video calls in nursing homes, either via a video phone or over the Internet in the resident computer room (what, your facility doesn’t have a computer room yet?).

  • Families could literally see how their loved ones are doing, relieving anxiety and contributing valuable information to the treatment team. (Who knows better than her family that Mother isn’t quite right today?)
  • It would allow long-distance family members to participate more actively in the lives of their loved ones.
  • A laptop could be put on a movable cart in a wifi hotspot nursing home to bring to the rooms of residents who are unable to get to the computer room, reducing isolation.
  • It’s a great marketing tool for families and residents alike.

5 thoughts on “Video Calls for Nursing Home Residents”

  1. Dr. El,

    While you already mentioned web phones/internet would be helpful for long distance family members to participate in the lives of loved one, I would like to add it would also be helpful for those living close by as well. An agitated resident can often be soothed by a visit from a loved one, so too, may he/she be by the sight/voice of a loved one over the video phone/Internet. A resident refusing medication may be more easily conjoled into cooperating by a family member, as may a family member assist staff in encouraging motivation for a resident to participate in the life of the facility.

    Just for the record, I would love to know how many facilities have wifi available to their residents. In my experience facilities are way behind the times when it comes to offering any technological advances.

  2. Talking about very cool technology developed for elders in care settings – check out Its Never 2 Late. This product incorporates social media, virtual excursions, physical and cognitive exercise adventures, and has elders in long term care settings e-mailing, surfing and discovering the great big cyber world. It is such a cool product and is making a real difference in the homes it is in.

  3. That's a great idea, Sue, to integrate the video calls into everyday practice, assisting the team in working with the residents. Imagine video call capability at every nursing station…

    Anna, thanks for sharing the It's Never 2 Late link ( It looks like they have video call capability, plus other tech "tools," on the mobile cart, ready to go, just a (regular) phone call away for facilities that are ready to take the plunge.

  4. These are great ideas. In the home my mom is in, they just don't have computers available to residents. A very few have their own. I did borrow one of the "office" laptops to show my mom a youtube video of her granddaughter sky diving! I am going to share your site and suggestions with staff – i hope the administrators support the idea. Thanks. Cheryl

  5. Cheryl, thanks for commenting and for spreading the word. One option to consider if the nursing home is reluctant to purchase a computer is to try raising funds through the resident or family council in the home — you provide the hardware, the nursing home provides the subsequent tech support. In one facility, the staff members had a very successful bake sale and raffle to raise money for a computer room because they felt so strongly that the residents should have access to the rest of the world.


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