Virtual health and care support available for residents

Vulnerable residents across Essex are benefitting from a new initiative that will help them stay in touch with friends, family and access health and care services.

Video Carephones provide two-way communications between people and approved services in a simple and easy-to-use way.

Essex County Council, in partnership with Alcove and RETHINK Partners, is providing 2,000 devices to people who are referred by health and care professionals. The initiative will remain active during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The devices are designed to be set-up with little or no intervention and could be used to access services from NHS, social care and voluntary sector providers.

Marianne, 90, is bed-bound and is a resident at Dobson’s House, Swan Housing Association’s extra care scheme in Rayleigh. She used to see her son regularly. Since COVID-19 he has not been able to visit her as she is shielding. Marianne was finding their contact being restricted to phone calls extremely difficult.

Video Carphone has enabled her to talk to her son via video several times per day. It has also enabled the Swan staff team, who visit her three times a day, to check in on her via video between visits.

Marianne’s son, Stephen said: “The Alcove Video Carephone has proved to be greatly beneficial. You can sense my Mum’s delight at being able to see and hear her loved ones. I think the device has actually improved her health and given her a bit of quality of life back; there is a brightness about her.”

The Video Carephones should be a priority for people who:

  • don’t have access to mainstream or consumer technology, and
  • have little or no tech skills and experience, or with minimal technology capability.

If you know of any vulnerable people who could benefit from having a device, please email Your email needs to include the following details:

  • Your organisation and service
  • The person’s current status and reasons for appropriateness based on the criteria below:
    • People who are high risk, isolated or impacted by shielding
    • People with reduced access to health, care and community services
    • Improving the quality and effectiveness of hospital discharge (physical and mental health) to improve flow and capacity

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