Hill House in Sandbach, Cheshire is a care home for 24 residents with various disabilities and with communication needs run by Leonard Cheshire, a charity that has supported people with disabilities for over 70 years.
The house is currently at the center of an exciting assistive technology project that will see residents and staff engage with new technologies to help increase independence and expand their range of opportunities for social interaction.
Integrator Pure AV is working with Hill House on the development and implementation of solutions that use virtual reality, video conferencing and interactive technology to create new ways for residents to interact with staff, family and residents. with each other.
David Hursthouse, Assistive Technology Project Manager for Leonard Cheshire, explained, “For me, one of the most critical parts of this project is improving opportunities for social interaction. New technologies help us fight loneliness, keep our residents connected, and provide access to whole new experiences, all within the four walls of Hill House. “
The heart of the solution is a 55-inch Clevertouch Impact Plus screen mounted on an electric lift and tilt cart to provide maximum accessibility to all users. A PC housed in the display’s OPS slot, with the addition of Apple TV and a Logitech Brio camera turns the display into both a hub for entertainment and a vital connection to the world. outside of Hill House.
To further enrich the residents’ experience, Pure AV has added a Redbox VR and 360 degree kit camera kit to the solution. The system allows residents to enjoy immersive virtual tours of well-known buildings and landmarks, while giving them the ability to create their own VR content.
Leonard Cheshire’s team quickly adopted the new facilities. The inaugural event was a virtual snack, coordinated with local stately home Arley Hall, which offered a fantastic example of the solution in action. With residents unable to make an annual trip to Arley Hall, due to Covid-19, technology has instead brought the Hall’s grounds and gardens to the residents’ doors at Hill House.
Through the Pure AV facility, residents were able to enjoy a personal video tour of the gardens, led by Lord and Lady Ashbrook, owners of Arley Hall, followed by the chance to experience 360 degree panoramic views of the grounds in using the VR headsets.
After the visit, Lord and Lady Ashbrook, along with TV gardener Mark Lane, joined the residents for a virtual tea party and Zoom Q&A session.
The virtual snack is just one example of how the system creates new ways for residents to explore and interact with the world around them. With interactive game nights and virtual audiobook clubs already underway and many other initiatives planned by Hill House staff, residents are already enjoying the new experiences the solution has opened up to them.
Leonard Cheshire’s team is a critical part of the success of the Hill House project. Led by Hursthouse, it includes therapists, staff, and volunteers, all working together to help residents get the most out of technology.
Hursthouse continues to work with Pure AV to assess technology adoption at Hill House and evolve the solution as it prepares to move these facilities to other homes in the Leonard Cheshire Group. “It has been a pleasure working with Pure AV and seeing the impact technology is already having on the lives of the people we support,” he said. “These solutions offer a wide range of opportunities for people with disabilities and have helped improve the well-being of our residents during a very trying time. Pure AV listened carefully to our demands and offered a range of options which widened the opportunities for independence and social interaction for our residents.