Clinically vulnerable care home residents are being treated by their GPs without even leaving their room, thanks to Microsoft HoloLens 2

Staff at a care home in Cumbria are using Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset and Microsoft Teams to allow GPs to speak to and assess elderly residents in a COVID-safe way.

Kendal Care Home, which offers residential, nursing, respite palliative and dementia care, called HoloLens a “game changer” that supports nurses’ work while protecting clinically vulnerable people from the pandemic.

Nurses wear HoloLens 2 when seeing residents who are bed-bound or have skin conditions such as leg swelling and rashes, which can be symptoms of serious illness. The mixed-reality device is linked to the Dynamics 365 Remote Assist app, which creates a secure and private Teams video call between the care home and a GP’s PC or mobile device. The GP, who could be in their practice, at home or working remotely, can ask the resident questions about their health, offer a diagnosis and advise the nurse on effective treatment. The resident can hear their GP and speak to them in real-time.

Kendal Care Home started using Microsoft’s headset in October 2020. It replaced smartphones and tablets, which weren’t as effective for connecting residents and GPs as they had to be held by staff and the video images weren’t as clear.

HoloLens 2 has ensured Kendal Care Home can maintain its strict pandemic safety measures, while keeping vulnerable, elderly residents and their carers safe.

Geethu Tennison, Deputy Manager at Kendal Care Home, said: “By adopting HoloLens 2 we have ensured that residents and staff remained safe during the pandemic as they are not having to travel and attend GP surgeries for their appointments, which reduces the risk of residents and staff catching COVID-19 or other infections such as flu.

“Because HoloLens 2 enables real-time communications, it has also helped to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents. They are still able to see and talk to their nurses and GP, despite many being infirm, unwell and bed-bound. HoloLens 2 is also providing valuable support for our staff and offering peace of mind to residents’ families.”

Local GP Dr Richard Russell said: “HoloLens has enabled real-time communications with residents who really need it, whilst keeping them safe from COVID. Its improved quality and access, especially for those infirm, unwell and bed bound. Worried families now feel happier and reassured. This is only the start, and we look forward to improving this concept for our residents.”

Kendal Care Home is working with local GPs, Kendal Integrated Care Community and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust to train staff in how to use and clean Microsoft’s headset.

“Staff have been very positive about using the HoloLens 2 headset,” Tenison added. “It has been a game changer for our care home and we are looking at how we can use the device in other areas of our care.”

It’s one of many examples of HoloLens being used to support healthcare teams.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust used the device on its COVID-19 wards to keep doctors safe as they treated patients with the virus.

Meanwhile, Imperial College London is using HoloLens to help medical students get vital experience of real patients in hospitals. Clinicians and educators use the headset in outpatient clinics and ward rounds, which enables them to share a live feed with students who are watching on their devices at home.

Alex Montgomery, Director of Azure Product Marketing, said: “Kendal Care Home’s use of HoloLens 2 is a great example of how Microsoft’s mixed-reality headset can support collaboration without boundaries. Because the device is hands-free, it allows healthcare staff to fully focus on their patients or residents, while support from colleagues, GPs or specialists can be obtained in seconds via Teams. It’s great to see HoloLens 2 is having such a positive impact among care home staff and residents.”

To learn more about HoloLens 2 and how it can help your organisation, click here.