May 14, 2020

The Social Development Minister introduces Televínculos:

Innovative Program to Accompany Elderly Citizens Isolated Due to Covid-19

• This initiative seeks to strengthen the relationship of emotional support and containment for the elderly through technological telecare assistance. Its implementation is made possible through a donation from MetLife Foundation through ProVida.

• It will benefit 1,750 highly vulnerable seniors from the Biobío, Ñuble, Araucanía, and the Metropolitan regions, which are currently part of the Vínculos and Home Care programs of the Ministry of Social Development and Family (Senama).

The Minister of Social Development, Sebastián Sichel, and the Director of Senama, Octavio Vergara, presented the Televínculos program, an initiative that seeks to improve senior citizens’ quality of life -the most at-risk segment in the Covid 19 crisis- by strengthening both the relationship of emotional support and containment, as well as a technologically supported assistance network. 

This venture is made possible by a Fundación MetLife donation, represented by ProVida AFP in this project, to Fundación Chile, the entity in charge of its design and implementation. This funding will allow the telecare assistance program to be launched for a five-month period.

It will benefit 1,750 highly vulnerable seniors throughout the Biobío, Ñuble, Araucanía, and Metropolitan regions that are part of the Vínculos and Home Care programs of the Ministry of Social Development and Family, and SENAMA. Both programs aim to strengthen the relationship of support and security, through monitors who today, given the health crisis, cannot continue with their tasks. Televínculos arises from this need, offering through technology, a Telecare assistance service to provide medical and social guidance as well as coordination amid health and social emergencies in the personal environment of each user, using their own local, municipal, and public networks.

In this regard, the Minister valued this initiative as it “allows us to tell the elderly that we are not going to leave them on their own, and that side by side with Fundación Chile, Fundación Metlife, and AFP Provida we are implementing a solution that will reach 1,700 seniors. By simply pressing a button they can quickly get in touch with a direct care service that allows them to have emotional accompaniment, support, or counseling in health matters, plus specialized referrals in the event it should necessary”.

“By simply pressing a button they can quickly get in touch with a direct care service that allows them to have emotional accompaniment, support, or counseling in health matters, plus specialized referrals in the event it should necessary.” Sebastián Sichel, Social Development Minister.

In terms of the functionality of the system, the Undersecretary of Social Services, Sebastián Villarreal, explained that “we spoke to an elder in Lonquimay who already had the device, which includes a huge button, that when pressed, it immediately gets hold of an Operator’s Station for assistance and accompaniment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is also a messaging option. This is an innovation that has emerged from its analogous version, the Vínculos program and now, with the support of this public-private partnership, it turns the quarantine into a physical isolation and not a social one”.

“As ProVida AFP we are very happy to be able to contribute, through Fundación MetLife with this initiative at such a relevant time for the country. We know that today our seniors are the ones who are most affected by this pandemic, and this program seeks to mitigate in part the social consequences that the isolation brings. The Televínculos program will provide a tool for connection, support, and containment to thousands of adults who are part of the in-person Vínculos program led by Senama, which was interrupted by the pandemic,” said Gregorio Ruiz-Esquide, ProVida AFP General Manager.

Meanwhile, Marcos Kulka, Fundación Chile’s CEO, stressed the importance of public-private collaborative work to tackle the challenges of the health crisis and to reach the most vulnerable groups, in this case the elderly.  “The Televínculos program also shows the acceleration of digital transformation and the contribution that it can provide in terms of telecare assistance, thereby improving the quality of life of the elderly”.

Seniors will receive a specially designed Smartphone for their use, which connects directly to a remote assistance centre by simply pressing the button on the screen. Once activated, it will connect to a telecare assistance main operator, specially trained and that counts with experience in the care of elderly citizens. After confirming that the call is not due to an emergency, the operator refers the call to the elder’s monitor or assistant, as well as relatives or neighbors (with the consequent social containment that

 this entails). In case of an emergency, the telecare assistance operator can connect directly with the health or security services, to address that particular situation.

Octavio Vergara, Director of Senama, stated that “with this initiative we are providing remote support for the elderly, because physical isolation does not have to equal social isolation.  With this device, the most vulnerable seniors will be able to receive immediate help and stay connected to their local support networks. And this is how we are contributing to protect them amid this health emergency”.

The telecare assistance centre will have records of each individual, containing medical and social information, community and health services and the available support networks, information with which it can respond efficiently to the seniors’ requirements. The Smartphone device they will receive has a longer lasting battery than traditional mobile devices, and allows the use of remote assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Collaboration and Life

This effort is part of Colaboración y Vida (Collaboration and Life); name given by Fundación Chile to the work they are deploying in response to the health and economic crisis caused by CoVid-19; with a special focus on the design of agile, scalable, and socially impacting initiatives and solutions. We are certain that the only way to tackle this crisis and move forward is by doing it collectively. Learn more here

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