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Residents, staff, administrators at WC Home get tablets

Hopes to allow more interaction with loved ones

Photo by Michele Newbanks Rosita Wong, CEO and co-founder of HealthJay, shows Washington County Commissioner Kevin Ritter how the new system will work for residents.

Residents, staff and administrators at the Washington County Home were introduced to new technology this week as they were able to interact with their new tablets.

Deanna Green, county home administrator, said the residents’ social and emotional health are just as important as their physical health.

“The last year and a half has been very trying for all of us. I feel like this will allow even the somewhat limited visitation for our residents to interface and interact with their loved ones, which is so important during these times,” she said. “I feel like these will promote social interaction and also…it allows our residents and our facility to interact with activities all over the United States.”

She said it will give the seniors a lot of options, such as one of the residents could take a yoga class held in California.

“It’s unbelievable and we’re so excited and happy,” Green said.

Rosita Wong, CEO and co-founder of HealthJay, visited the county home Thursday to demonstrate the system.

The tablets use a program developed by HealthJay that connects the residents with the nurse’s station. Residents are also able to connect with family, play games and watch videos on the tablets, such as exercise or yoga videos.

When residents click the button to connect to the nurses, they interact face-to-face so the nursing staff can better prioritize the calls, whether the resident needs a glass of water or whether the resident has fallen.

Wong said at HealthJay, they tried to find ways for people to better interact.

“How can we use technology to engage without those barriers?” she asked.

Each person’s tablet will show the friends and family who have signed on to be able to contact them, so the residents will not receive spam calls, Wong said.

Rick Hindman, executive director of Buckeye Hills Support Services, said the Buckeye Fields senior living project was what brought the idea for the tablets to mind.

The project will be 64 low-income homes on 25 acres near the county home.

He said they had an idea that revolved around telehealth and health.

“We tried to figure out what we mean by health and what we mean by telehealth,” he said. “What do we really want to do for folks?”

He said one end of the spectrum was the medical equipment and diagnostics, but the other end was about connections with the local community, family, friends and health providers.

The fundamental challenge to maintaining good mental and physical health has always been the effects of isolation and loneliness, he said.

“It’s addressing that isolation and that loneliness that’s been the real medicine for us,” he said.

He said HealthJay, the company that is providing the tablets and software, is about connecting folks with family and providers to give a sense of community.

“Right now, we try to keep folks in their homes in rural areas and there’s a lot of isolation and loneliness and quite frankly, because of that, one little thing could happen…and that one reason puts them in an institutional setting. A very restrictive setting and they lose their independence and they lose their dignity.”

Hindman said a No Wrong Door grant for $108,333 through the Ohio Department of Aging paid for the tablets and system.

“We also bought for the Buckeye Fields senior housing facility as well,” he said.

He said the Marietta Community Foundation gave the initial funds for the environmental and marketing studies in order to apply for the grant.

Even though they were in the middle of emergency requests due to COVID, they still saw the value of the project, Hindman said.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at

mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

At a glance:

¯ Residents at the Washington County Home will soon receive individualized tablets.

¯ The tablets will allow them to interface with the nurses’ station as well as friends and family.

¯ The staff and administration of the home were able to view the new system this week.

¯ Residents will be able to do activities with people from around the U.S.

Source: Washington County Home.

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