Fifty Hewlett-Packard netbook computers were donated to the Nevada State Veterans Home on April 1 by the Outlook Foundation of Las Vegas, which repurposes computers for children and military being deployed.
The computers will be reconfigured so they can be used by the home’s residents, allowing them to connect with family across the country through email, social media or video, and helping them communicate their needs to staff.
“Several residents at the home are affected by medical issues which have altered or eliminated their ability to verbally communicate,” said Mark McBride, the veterans home’s administrator. “This places a burden on their ability to take part in socialization, activities or communicate medical needs and these computers will be of great assistance in helping residents improve their medical and mental quality of life.”
The notebooks will be numerically labeled and a checkout system similar to a library setting will be created. Social services will request the notebook on behalf of residents and arrange for them to use it for 72 hours at a time.
Local students will volunteer their time to teach residents how to operate the notebooks for daily use.
Also, the veterans home’s technology staff will equip the computers with an augmentative communication application that will let residents use the device as their “voice” through preloaded commonly used words or phrases or words they type in.
“A resident will be able to answer questions asked by a physician or staff during evaluations,” McBride said. “This will greatly enhance our ability to address residents’ medical issues or daily needs and allow the resident to be more social with family and friends.”
Additional information about Outlook Foundation is at www.outlookfoundation.org.