CAST Supporter Hamilton CapTel is helping residents' with hearing loss to use the phone again--and to re-engage with friends and family. A recent CAST case study, “Increasing Engagement, Social Networks and Quality of Life and Reducing Social Isolation, Depression and Feelings of Loneliness through a Captioned Telephone,” explains how Hamilton CapTel is raising quality of life. 

Issue

For more than two years, Hamilton CapTel has been installing captioned telephones, at no cost, in the living spaces of qualified residents in Life Care Services (LCS) senior living communities nationwide. Life Care Services, An LCS® Company, serves over 33,000 older adult residents nationwide in communities ranging from continuing care retirement communities to rental communities.
 
Hamilton CapTel is dedicated to making phone conversations simple and accessible for individuals with hearing loss. Users can listen while reading captions of what’s said to them. A live captionist listens to the other party’s side of the conversation and through the use of advanced voice recognition technology, repeats what is said to generate the captions, which display on the screen of the captioned telephone.
 
The goal is to compare the results of a resident’s quality of life before and after using a captioned telephone.

Solution

The Hamilton CapTel phone is easy to use, and there are different models available to suit specific needs. Hamilton CapTel staff installs the phones and demonstrates them to residents. There is no financial risk to residents.

Outcomes

Hamilton CapTel phones provide multiple benefits:

  • Improved Quality of Life and Health Outcomes: People who have hearing loss who use captioned telephones improve their ability to connect with others, which makes them more likely to be happier, healthier, more mentally sharp, and live longer.
  • Increased Staff Efficiencies: Residents with hearing loss may need fewer, shorter calls with captioned telephones. By reading captions while listening on the phone, residents may gain more clarity and repeat conversations less. Hamilton CapTel phones store captions from conversations so that residents can re-read what was said, which may prevent them from making additional calls to caregivers. Residents also may rely less on staff members to make calls for them.
  • Increased Satisfaction with Care: Residents who have increased social connection are likely to be more satisfied in their senior living community.
  • Cost of Care and Return on investment (ROI):  While there is no cost to obtain a Hamilton CapTel phone, there may be a cost associated with visiting a professional hearing healthcare provider to qualify the individual’s hearing loss. This cost is minimal, while the benefits of regaining the ability to use the telephone and stay connected to family, friends, and the community are priceless.

Lessons Learned

Each captioned phone has Media Access Control (MAC) addresses on the bottom (one for a wired connection and one for wireless connection). Before installation, register the MAC address you will be using with the campus WiFi system to ensure access. A wired connection to the Internet works more consistently than a wireless one.
 
Residents may need to adjust to telephone conversations with captions. The phone can be modified to fit a user’s visual and hearing needs, such as changing the font size and color or volume and tone control. Callers also may need to learn to speak clearly to enhance the captioning experience.
 
Recognize that the quality and frequency of social interactions depend on the person using the technology, as well as family, friends, and caregivers.
 
Read the full case study.