Using digital services in your care home

Overview

You can use many free digital services to improve communication and information-sharing in your care home during Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Get better connected to help protect your residents and staff

Protect your care home’s residents and staff by making the most of video services, applications and tools during this stressful time.  With a fast and reliable internet connection, you can:

  • hold video consultations with GPs
  • connect residents with their loved ones
  • help staff share information with other social care and health professionals, local authorities and multi-disciplinary teams

Remember, when using digital services, you need to know how to keep your digital data and IT equipment safe. 

Types of digital services

Here are some examples of free online services that could help your care home. For more free digital tools and resources during coronavirus (COVID-19) visit the Digital Social Care website.

Online and video consultations

Many appointments with a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional, will take place as:

  • an online consultation
  • a phone call 
  • a video call (video consultation) 

Video consultations are a useful way to speak to a health professional about the people in your care. Holding a video consultation is like a face-to-face appointment, but means the health professional does not have to visit your care home to give advice or write a prescription. 

There are many different types of online and video consultation systems in use across the NHS. This includes across general practice, community care services and NHS trusts and foundation trusts. In the short term, where a video consultation system is not in place, the NHS might also use other video calling tools. 

In advance of a video consultation, ask the healthcare professional about which video consultation system they will use and whether you need to download the software or register to use it. 

Information for people about online and video consultation

Information about governance and the use of video calling tools  

NHSmail

NHSmail is the secure email service approved by the Department of Health and Social Care that you can use to share information about the residents in your care home with other NHS healthcare providers (for example GPs, district nurses, pharmacists and social workers).  

Find out how your care home can get fast-tracked access to NHSmail during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Microsoft (MS) Teams

You can use MS Teams to hold online video meetings with other NHSmail users in different organisations and places (for example GPs, district nurses, pharmacists and social workers).  

The residents in your care home can also use it to keep in touch with their friends and family.

You must have an NHSmail account to sign in and use MS Teams.

Find out how to access MS Teams

How to keep the information you hold safe 

It is important that the data you keep on your digital devices (such as computers, tablets and laptops) about your residents and care home is safe, and cannot be accessed by anyone who is not authorised to see it.

The Digital Social Care website has useful information about how to:

Read more advice for the social care sector on how to manage information securely during COVID-19

More information 

Four things to know before choosing an internet connection for your care home 

Internet connection deals for care homes