Case study: improving care home residents’ wellbeing through digital technology – South Devon and Torbay 


Volunteers are supporting people living in care homes to use interactive technology, helping them stay in touch with family and friends.

Digital Health Devon, a collaboration between the NHS, Torbay council and local Healthwatch, launched the project to support care homes and their residents make the best use of SMART technology.

What was the challenge?

For residents with family and friends living further away, it can be harder to stay in touch and feel connected to their wider family. The project aims to work with Care Home managers to establish a network of champions in smart digital technology. Using technology to support residents stay connected with friends, family and their local community has also had a positive impact on their overall wellbeing.

What does the digital technology project involve?

Digital Health Devon provides an introductory pack of suitable technology including Amazon Alexa ™ devices, a meta portal, mobile phones and Wi-Fi extenders. Care home staff receive training on how to set up and use the devices. They also have access to a suite of online training modules. Additionally, befriending volunteers visit the care homes to spend time with the residents and help them use the digital technology.

How has digital technology improved residents’ wellbeing?

Devices such as Amazon ™ can help people with limited mobility regain some of their independence, using voice to control their environment, set medication reminders, select certain music and call their friends and family. One resident now uses the device to read their grandchild a bedtime story remotely. Sharing everyday moments and creating memories are so important for their wellbeing.

“The portal has been of huge benefit to the residents. Residents were able to speak to their loved ones and their friends. It has been better than using a phone, because they are able to see their loved ones. The loved ones are also able to see the residents, how they look, how they feel, particularly beneficial for residents with communication difficulties. Also, hugely beneficial to care staff.” 

Roz Wills, Registered manager of Mallands Residential Home 

What would your top tips be?

  • Share your stories of how using SMART technology is making a difference to residents with other community teams that you work with
  • Work collaboratively with care home managers and their staff so they are fully involved– they understand their residents needs and will become digital champions for the project
  • Keep the project work focused on the person’s life story and what matters to them by involving the care home manager or activities coordinator.

For more information, please contact:

Pamela Prior – Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon, Plymouth and Torbay