Emmaus Homes Implements Technology Update Giving Clients Access to Healthcare and More

Emmaus client Patrick receives his new iPad.

Emmaus Homes recently implemented a technology update to 69 client homes. The update is benefiting about 225 people with disabilities living in St. Louis.

The technology includes new iPads and software in all of Emmaus’ service locations. Especially now, due to COVID-19, this technology provides Emmaus clients with a new level of access to essential healthcare, group exercise sessions, counseling, and social time with loved ones, which otherwise would not be available to them.

Says Emmaus’ Shauna O’Toole, director of development, “For many people, an iPad may just be a tool used to pass time, but for our clients who have a range of complex intellectual and developmental disabilities, the impact of this technology is invaluable.”

For example, one app allows Emmaus clients and their support staff to connect immediately with a physician at the StationMD physician practice, 24/7, any time they have an urgent health matter that needs to be addressed. This alone prevents Emmaus clients and staff from enduring stressful and logistically challenging trips to the doctor or hospital. The iPad technology allows StationMD to effectively treat Emmaus clients more than 85 percent of the time from the safety and comfort of the clients’ homes.

As Emmaus’ Manager of Health Services, Alicia Schnare puts it, “The face-to-face interaction with StationMD doctors provides our clients a more tailored evaluation. This is a huge advantage over transporting clients to the doctor or hospital for minor medical issues. Keeping our clients in place reduces the risk of exposing them to coronavirus and prevents us from disrupting their routines, which is critical to their overall well-being.”

Additionally, some clients, who cannot communicate verbally, are using the technology to give themselves a voice. It offers them the independence to choose their breakfast items or alert staff to their restroom needs. Some use it to call and talk to their family members whom they cannot visit in person.

Several Emmaus partners donated to make the upgrade possible, including Friends Foundation, Developmental Disabilities Resource Board of St. Charles, The Schaffer Foundation, the MO Department of Mental Health, and MARF.

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