ND grant helps nursing homes purchase technology to reconnect families

CARE’S Act funds
CARE’S Act funds(KFYR)
Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 2:22 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Department of Human Services secured $300,000 of CARE’S Act funds to provide assistive technology grants to nursing homes and basic care facilities around North Dakota.

The grants allow for the purchase of smart home devices and iPads for residents to connect virtually with family and friends.

The Wishek Living Center is one of the hundreds of facilities receiving the grant.

“One just wasn’t enough to try to get all of those visits in with all of the residents and their families,” said Melissa Piatz, director of nursing at the Wishek Living Center.

They purchased two additional iPads, a microphone and an amplifier for those who are hard of hearing.

“You can see their face light up when they pop up on the screen, and blowing kisses and waving at each other,” said Piatz.

The $300,000 is broken down into smaller grants which are available to all nursing homes and assisted care sites in North Dakota.

“The need is in the facilities where people are not able to see their loved ones because of the health restrictions,” said Nancy Nikolas Maier, Director of Aging Services for the Department of Human Services.

North Dakota Assistive helps the facilities determine which devices will best suit their patients.

“We have residents that just want to see the face of their loved ones,” said Beth Bakke Stenehjem, AT consultant for North Dakota Assistive.

They say the grants help families reconnect with loved ones they haven’t been able to see in months.

“It can make this time less challenging than it already is,” said Bakke Stenehjem.

So far the connection cart grants have been used by 84 facilities.

The Department of Human Services hopes to reach out to all nursing homes and basic care facilities to offer them the grant.

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