Article 17.02.2022

COVID-19 pandemic study investigates the use of video consultation technology in care homes

The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected care home residents’ and staffs’ access to health care and advice. Health and social care professionals adapted rapidly to using video consultation (videoconferencing) technology without guidance.

What needs to be in place for video consultations to work with care homes? How did the context of the pandemic affect care homes and health and social care practitioners’ response to using remote consultation technology?

New research results from the Ageing and Multi-Morbidity theme’s project Videoconferencing and online technology for communication between care homes and health and social care providers have been published in the latest Oxford Academic Age and Ageing journal, investigating the pros and cons of remote consultations in supporting care home residents and staff.

Access the publication here.

“The pandemic presented new opportunities for using video consultation with care homes but we need to ensure this technology is personalised to residents, protects and shares data, and considers the care home setting”

Dr Krystal Warmoth, University of Hertfordshire

The research project provides a scoping review of 18 papers and 12 interviews with health and social care professionals. The results reveal learnings of what went well in the rapid adoption of remote consultation technology over the pandemic, as well as issues raised by health and social care professionals.

Issues raised from Health and Social care professionals¹:

  • The results show that there is currently a fragile infrastructure in place, highlighting the need for reliable access to good equipment, software and internet connection. Consistent support for procuring, replacing and changing software and equipment. Further resources and technical support may be needed for longer-term sustainability.
  • Care home staff played a central role in arranging, preparing, and facilitating consultations with residents. Health and social care professionals rely on care home staff to collect important information, take measurements, and act as the go-between with residents. Video consultations require collaborative partnership. While health & social care professionals’ time was saved it may have increased the workload of care home staff.
  • Different types of communication software and videoconferencing platforms were used, depending on specific needs, reliability of technology and available support. It is currently unclear how online communication is being documented. Data protection and security were raised as potential concerns as photographs, videos and recordings could be at risk online. Staff providing assistance to residents may interfere with their right to confidential consultations and confidence to raise issues of concern.

¹Access an ‘at a glance’ summary of the results below

  • Read the research paper

Krystal Warmoth, Jennifer Lynch, Nicole Darlington, Frances Bunn, Claire Goodman: Using video consultation technology between care homes and health and social care professionals: a scoping review and interview study during COVID-19 pandemic. British Geriatrics Society: Age and Ageing, Volume 51, Issue 2. February 2022

  • Research project

Videoconferencing and online technology for communication between care homes and health and social care providers