Twenty-three elderly care facilities are getting federal funds to improve communications technology for their residents.

Officials with the Hawaii Department of Health announced Monday the department will disburse $30,000 to skilled nursing facilities to cover the costs of equipment so residents may keep in touch with friends and family amid no-visitor policies enacted during the pandemic.

Most long-term care facilities have restricted visitors during the pandemic, but the limited social time with loved ones can take a toll on mental and physical health.

A resident at Hale Makua on Maui interacts with a loved one through a video chat. A no-visitor policy was implemented in early March to prevent COVID-19 transmission. Hale Makua Health Services/2020

“With restrictions on face-to-face, in-person visits still in place, the grants will provide the tools skilled nursing facilities need to provide emotional support for their residents,” said Keith Ridley, chief of the Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance (OHCA), which oversees and regulates skilled nursing facilities.

The funds, listed below, are from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

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