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How we Connected Residents with Their Loved Ones at Two North London Care Homes
28th October 2020

How a dedicated leased line, high speed internet and a reliable, monitored Wi-Fi internet setup made all the difference to over 100 care home residents in North London looking to keep in touch with their loved ones during the pandemic.

 

During the challenging times of 2020, keeping in touch with loved ones has never been so important. Whilst this has been a challenge in itself, we can at least thank technology for bringing people together, even when they’re apart, with families able to use the likes of Zoom, Skype and Teams to get together, albeit virtually.

 

For those with loved ones residing in care homes, and indeed for those who live there themselves, it has been a particularly tough time, with visits in person put on ice due to the enforced social distancing guidelines. Video calling would of course be the ideal solution, but it is hugely dependent on a reliable internet connection, and in an environment where numerous people are online at the same time, the bandwidth soon drains away, leaving many with a shaky connection, and plenty of others with none at all.

 

Case study: Reliable Wi-Fi for Autumn Gardens and Anastasia Lodge care homes

 

Autumn Gardens and Anastasia Lodge are two residential and nursing care homes in North London, both run by the same provider. Committed to doing their very best to care for and entertain their residents during the strains of the pandemic, they identified that finding a way to connect everyone with their loved ones remotely would make a considerable difference. The problem was, they only had regular BT fibre broadband within the homes, which wasn’t sufficient to provide all of the residents with the required bandwidth for video calling.

 

Wi-Fi wasn’t available anywhere within the properties, so any video calls were made using the mobile phone network, which was proving expensive. Coverage was patchy, and video links were dropping constantly. All very frustrating for the residents, and distressing for families who had no other way of connecting with their loved ones.


The lack of Wi-Fi also made it difficult for staff to work outside of the main office where the wired internet connection was. The advantage of flexibility was very much absent.

 

We were approached by the owners of the homes with a brief to provide a reliable Wi-Fi solution.

 

The brief

 

The remit was to provide reliable wireless internet coverage across both homes, catering for around 90 residents in Autumn Gardens, and 30 in Anastasia Lodge. The coverage would need to support all users simultaneously whilst video conferencing or using the internet.

 

The solution

 

We came up with a plan that would deliver precisely what the residents needed in order to stay in touch with their loved ones, and that would also benefit the staff.

 

Leased line

 

A leased line, supplied by our sister company PC Docs Tel, formed the core part of the setup in each of the two homes. Leased lines provide a fast, resilient internet connection, with guaranteed upload and download speeds and no drop in speed during peak times. A leased line is literally your own personal internet connection, which means bandwidth is not shared with outside users. The homes now have scope to increase their speed up to 1,000 MB as required.

 

 

Managed service

 

It was important to the owners of the homes that the Wi-Fi service was managed for ongoing stability and reliability, and so that the residents would have the continuity of access they needed to stay in touch with their families or use the internet.

 

Our IT support helpdesk remotely manages the system and monitors usage, ensuring optimal performance at all times.

 

“PC Docs had all the solutions at hand, the products,
the installers and the internet services, all in house and expertly delivered.”

 

Wireless access points

 

Thanks to the new wireless internet service, we were able to connect an outhouse office to the main building via Wi-Fi technology. After a careful audit, we also ran cables and installed wireless access points on each storey so that every inch of the homes benefited from coverage. Staff could now save time with internet access throughout the buildings, rather than in just one single office.

 

Cables installed, tested and certified

 

All in all, some 26 Cat 6 cables were installed, tested and certified in Autumn Gardens, and 12 in Anastasia Lodge.

 

 

Overcoming challenges

 

Working in an environment where there are lots of people living, especially where those people are receiving nursing care, is always going to prove something of a challenge, more so of course during the pandemic where it is crucial to adhere to COVID-secure guidelines.

 

We adopted a staged approach which would allow us to work around the client’s schedule. Whilst this wasn’t always a logical way of working for us, it was important that we put the client first.

 

A plan was devised, showing the owners which areas of the homes we would need to access for each day. This would allow the staff to plan ahead and move residents as required, so that we could work at a safe distance. We allowed grace days too where they were needed, allowing them to let us know if they’d prefer us not to be on site on a particular day. This we did without financial penalty to the client.

 

Adding value

 

The owners of Autumn Gardens and Anastasia Lodge told us that they liked our approach to the entire project, especially the fact that we took time to explain the processes involved, and the technical side in a way they could understand.

 

“The installers were both professional and accommodating when required. The network was delivered and working as proposed, with no stress to us. Our residents and their families can now enjoy constant contact via Zoom and other social platforms 24 hours a day.  PC Docs made this all possible and have been a pleasure to work with, professional from start to finish. We couldn’t recommend them highly enough.”

 

It is important to us at PC Docs to make sure that all our clients understand on their terms why we have proposed certain solutions. It doesn’t matter to us how long it takes to go through everything step by step, as long as our clients are fully informed and happy with what they are getting.

 

We knew this project was important from much more than just a technical point of view, and we are delighted that we have been able to contribute towards helping to keep loved ones in touch during these very difficult times.

 

 

Looking for an internet solution that will transform the way you communicate? Talk to PC Docs, your trusted IT support and telecoms company covering London and Hertfordshire.

 

From network design and installation through to high speed internet solutions and IT support, here at PC Docs we are dedicated to ensuring your complete satisfaction through tailor made solutions and a service promise that’s second to none.

 

To discover how we can make a difference to your organisation, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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