"Good morning, how are you? Compared to usual, how are you feeling? Do you have someone who can help you in case of need?" These are just some of the questions that every day the volunteers of the Italian Red Cross and Croce Italia ask, by telephone, to frail elderly people of Bologna, women and men living alone, particularly isolated in these days of Coronavirus.
This is the e-Care service activated by the Municipality of Bologna, the CTSSM (Bologna Metropolitan Territorial Social and Healthcare Conference) and the Local Health Authority of Bologna, managed by Lepida, potentiated precisely to deal with the Coronavirus emergency. Since March 10th, in fact, the e-Care service has been networking with pharmacies, operators and volunteers to meet the needs of the fragile elderly population. 4.000 seniors are now receiving a telemonitoring service that allows them to keep their social-health conditions under control; the number of assisted users is constantly increasing thanks to the synergy with the Territorial Social Services and the nurses of the Health Houses of the Local Health Authority of Bologna.
In one week, the call center received 145 requests for information and reassurance, but also for services such as the delivery of groceries, medicines or the collection of clinical reports, while performing 826 telephone calls to the seniors followed by the service. Many calls for information also came from family members who, for various reasons, cannot be close to their loved ones at this moment. The volunteers of Public Assistance, Italian Red Cross, Croce Italia and the Auser Association ensure, every day, the home deliveries.
The 10 volunteers working from home have been joined, during these days, by volunteers from the associations SPI CGIL, ANTEAS and ANCeSCAO, who will pay the same attention, and ask the same questions, to those who, among their members, live a similar condition of fragility related to age. All volunteers have been put in a position to work from their home or the headquarters of their association and to collect online interviews, thus ensuring their safety.
In addition to questions about health and needed help, the volunteers emphasize to the elderly all the precautions that are necessary at this time to protect themselves from the virus, but also from malicious people who, pretending to be health workers, could eventually claim to enter the home.
[photo: Red Cross volunteers at the Lepida headquarters]