Canopy Growth, which operates Tweed in Niagara-on-the-Lake, has donated two iPads to Upper Canada Lodge.
The cannabis company donated a total of 57 iPads to 21 long-term care homes across the province, to help residents stay in touch with their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It started when the lockdown and COVID first began in the spring,” said Hilary Black, chief advocacy officer for Canopy Growth.
“I have a 103-year-old grandma and I am able to speak to her every day because she lives at home with full-time caregivers. And many families don't have that same privilege,” she said.
She said the idea came after a worker at Spectrum Therapeutics, Canopy's medical cannabis company, was speaking with his father who is a resident of a long-term care facility.
“The frontline care worker in the long-term care facility was holding her personal phone while wearing all of her (personal protective equipment) in order to be able to give this resident access to talking to his son. And that got us to thinking about the need for connectivity for residents of long-term care facilities that we know are hardest hit by COVID,” Black said.
“So really it's about giving residents the opportunity to talk to their kids, talk to their grandkids, and just to be able to connect, because a lot of those folks don't have their own phones,” she said, adding the devices have had major connectivity apps like FaceTime and Skype pre-installed.
The iPads are also on stands, so they can be easily moved and wiped down.
The long-term care facilities were chosen because they're part of an existing research project with Canopy Growth, which is looking at the utility of medical cannabis for treating pain, mood and sleep problems in long-term care patients.
Black said she also hopes to inspire more businesses to support long-term care facilities in their communities.
“Call your local long-term care facility and find out what they need. And perhaps there's more ways that we can be supporting our elders as we go through the fall and winter with COVID.”