DHEC promotes grant aimed at connecting nursing home residents with family, friends virtually

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control officials said Thursday that they support the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ COVID-19 Communicative Technology grant opportunity that will help connect nursing home residents with loved ones virtually during the pandemic.

According to the release, South Carolina, like several other states, has visitation restrictions in place at long-term care facilities in order to help protect elderly residents.

The grant reportedly provides up to $3,000 in funding for nursing homes to buy tablets, tripods and other accessories that will help virtually connect residents with their friends and family.

So far, 91 nursing homes in South Carolina have been approved for the grant funding.

“The COVID-19 Communicative Technology opportunity has been a great success and is something that will directly improve the quality of life for residents and reduce feelings of isolation,” Nick Ruden, the state CMS Funding Coordinator for DHEC, said. “The benefits of this funding canot be underestimated as deep connections and emotional enrichment are pillars of strength for these residents while visitor restriction safety measures are in place. We highly encourage our nursing homes to take advantage of this impactful federal funding opportunity.”

According to the release, DHEC helps eligible nursing homes complete the application process for the grant and the agency works with CMS to review and approve requests.

The devices can reportedly be shared between seven to 10 residents and nursing home staff must disinfect the devices between every use, according to CMS guidelines.

Nursing homes wanting to apply for the grant can click here, and can reach out to DHEC’s Healthcare Quality staff at acc-healthreg@dhec.sc.gov for assistance.

For more information about the grant, click here.

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