Video conferencing enriches lives of nursing home residents

Thursday, March 1 2012

Nursing home residents can potentially enjoy a better quality of life with visits from friends and family through easy-to-use video conferencing technology. A study published by the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that when nursing home patients were visited by family members or friends via web conferencing services, they found the experience enriching.

For three months, 34 residents who lived in 10 different nursing homes participated in video conferencing sessions that required only a computer with a camera and an internet connection. The participants included 18 women and 16 men who used the technology on calls lasting less than 12 minutes each. Twelve percent of the residents used video conferencing services daily, 47 percent weekly, 23 percent monthly and 18 percent occasionally.

A trained research assistant helped the nursing home residents use web conferencing services to reach a spouse or family member. At the end of the study, participants said the experience was very positive and that it was better than a phone call because they were able to actually see the person on the other end.

Some of the nursing home residents even said that the communication solution could sometimes replace in-person visits when family is unable to travel a long distance to see them.