Saaremaa care home residents keeping in touch with loved ones by tablet ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A care home resident in Saaremaa speaking to a loved one via tablet.
A care home resident in Saaremaa speaking to a loved one via tablet. Source: Kairit Lindmäe

Beginning Sunday, residents of care homes in Saaremaa and patients at Kuressaare Hospital can communicate with loved ones with the help of tablet computers.

Tablets were delivered to care homes and hospitals specifically to ensure that people could keep in touch with their loved ones while under quarantine.

According to Margus Lindmäe, head of emergency situation services in Saaremaa, due to continuing quarantine conditions, people are seeing an increasing need to communicate with loved ones, including seeing their faces.

"As people cannot visit their loved ones in care homes or the hospital anymore, for many this is their only opportunity to see and talk to their close family," Lindmäe said, adding that social interaction and entertainment are what people are increasingly missing.

According to Saaremaa Municipal Mayor Madis Kallas, many of the elderly at the hospital or in care homes were used to being visited almost every day.

"I have several elderly acquaintances who have said that being in the hospital or at the care home has gotten very boring and lonely," Kallas said. "Unfortunately that saddens them, which has a negative impact on their health. Isolation also leads the elderly to  worry about their loved ones, and loved ones in turn would like to see for themselves that they are doing okay. Video-chatting can help fill this gap, and allow people to get together face to face."

The tablets reached the Rescue Board's Saaremaa headquarters for distribution thanks to a coordinated effort between the Social Insurance Board, Samsung Electronics Baltics and Telia. A total of 30 tablets equipped with mobile internet and video call apps were sent to Saaremaa to help patients keep in touch with their loved ones, which were distributed to the island's care homes and Kuressaare Hospital by Saaremaa municipal government and the Rescue Board's Saaremaa staff in accordance with patient and client numbers and needs.

The tablets are to be returned once the current emergency situation ends.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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