Chromebooks were distributed to nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Attala County by North Central Planning and Development District (NCPDD) staff on Jan. 8. Chromebooks were given to Attala County Nursing Center, Atwood Personal Care Home, and the Mississippi State Veterans’ Home.
Representatives of each of the facilities were present to pick up the equipment. Each said it will help in patient care by allowing facility residents more access to connecting with family members during the pandemic, when in-person visits have been rare, at best.
“We’ve have not had visitors and we’ve seen quite a decline in our residents’ well-being both physically and mentally,” said Amy Morgan Hood, the Attala County Nursing Home director, who received four of the Chromebooks for her facility. “This will impact them by allowing them more contact with family.”
Allison Petty of Atwood Personal Care, who picked up two Chromebooks for the assisted living facility, agreed.
“The residents have had very limited visits and our staff has been using their own equipment to connect families. And residents can have more contact with families now with these,” she said.
Piccolar Johnson, assistant director at the Mississippi State Veteran’s Home, said her facility has had four or five iPads available, not nearly enough to serve the 120 veterans at the home. The connection between residents and family is critical to their well-being, she said.
“It will have a huge impact on our veterans. We will be using them to give residents facetime with their families, so they can participate in birthday parties, see their grandchildren,” said Johnson. “This way, they can still feel like they are part of their families.”
Funding was made available through a grant from the Mississippi Department of Human Services’ Mississippi Access to Care (MAC) program. NCPDD’s Area Agency on Aging (AAA) staff presented the Chromebooks to representatives of the nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Attala County.
“It is great our nursing homes and personal care homes will have the ability to allow the residents to keep in touch with their family and friends. Not only will they be used during the pandemic, but they will also be beneficial during the influenza season,” said Darlena Allen, NCPDD Area Agency on Aging Director. Allen is assisted with the distributions in the seven-county area by AAA staff members Mary Smith and Ashley Silas.
NCPDD collaborated with Three Rivers PDD in Pontotoc to implement this project. Three Rivers MAC Division Director Bill Renick drew from the resources of MAC supplemental funding due to COVID-19 to explore innovative services through technology to allow nursing home and long-term care patients to communicate with family and friends and increase social engagement.
“We are delighted that we could work together with Three Rivers PDD to make it easier for care home residents in our seven counties to communicate with their families and friends. This is especially crucial during these challenging times,” said NCPDD Executive Director Steve Russell.
“Once again, partnerships at the federal, state, and local levels will benefit care home residents,” said Robert G. Anderson, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. “MDHS is pleased to be part of the process of making the lives of residents more hopeful.”