If you put your fingers on the touch screen, the fish in the water will come up and nibble on them.

Or wiggle your toes in the sand, it'll be just like all those vacation trips you once took to Florida, said Mary Lynn Spalding, president of Christian Care Communities, which has facilities in Hopkinsville.

The new capability for residents of the local Christian Health Center is one of two new types of technology that is being debuted in the center's Care & Connect Training Center ribbon-cutting and dedication from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Tuesday at Christian Health Center, 200 Sterling Drive.

The other aspect provides training for the center's staff, including everyone from nurses and certified nursing assistants to employees of the business office, environmental workers and dining staff.

For the senior citizens, the iN2L technology (an acronym for It's Never 2 Late) is a way for them to combat loneliness and connect with their families.

The oversized screen lets them play games, listen to music, read Bible scriptures, web chat with family and friends, do research and take part in interactive therapies that can be an alternative for medicines.

Christian Care Communities' Vice President and General Counsel Jim Patton describes iN2L's interactive touch screen as a jumbotron.

"I think it's pretty cool," said Patton, who said local residents in the community may visit and try it for themselves during the upcoming reception.

The technology has already launched with the health center's senior citizens, Patton said, and he noted that families are enthused about it.

"We're making connections long distance with family members," he said. "The seniors are happy and are combating their loneliness.

"Their engagement is much better," he added.

Patton said the center has stationary and mobile versions of the touch screen that will be used with its older residents, and the technology will be available as well to residents across the local Christian Care Communities campus, he noted.

Patton said seniors and volunteers are being trained on the technology so they can support residents throughout the local campus in its use.

He said Hopkinsville is one of two Christian Care Communities campuses utilizing the screens, with Louisville also receiving an opportunity for iN2L.

Spalding said the other piece of technology in Christian Health Center's new training facility is devoted to staff, with a camera on the interactive screen allowing employees to speak face-to-face with instructors who can answer their questions.

"We statewide have made 2019 the year of training in our industry and health care in general," said Spalding, who noted that officials hope to contribute to staff retention by providing training.

"People come into roles, but they still need additional training," she said. "Training sometimes doesn't happen because of budget cuts."

She said the more knowledge a staff member has and the more he knows how to do his particular job, the better off he is going to be.

Spalding said the two pieces of technology for the training center were made possible through grant funding, with $120,000 from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) funding the staff technology.

Grant funding for the iN2L technology for the seniors was provided through Kentucky Civil Monetary Penalty funds that benefit nursing home residents in the state.

The public is invited to the ribbon cutting, and refreshments will be served.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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