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Westminster-Canterbury wins Dignity Gold in McKnight's Tech Awards

Westminster-Canterbury wins Dignity Gold in McKnight’s Tech Awards

Seniors with cognitive impairment are at risk for isolation and depression. But Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach, VA, used innovative bedside technology to boost engagement, allowing it to land the Gold Award in the Dignity category of McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards (Skilled).

Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach, VA, won Dignity Gold in the McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards (Skilled).


The community launched a clinical trial through the Birdsong Initiative to find if digital engagement helped residents’ moods. It did, with results that included a 55% decrease in depression. Participants had an overall 7% decrease in blood pressure.

However, continuing using the engagement software was too expensive for individual bedside use, CEO Ben Unkle said. In frustration, his team partnered in May with engineering company TMM Groupe to create its own in-room engagement tool called “The Birdsong Tablet: No mind left behind.”

That cost is less than discounted in-house cable tv, he told McKnight’s. The Birdsong Software costs have been reduced to $7 per month per unit to about $18 per month per unit depending on the number of units purchased.  

“We put it in one hundred percent of our rooms and people love it,” Unkle said. One resident, Karla, had cognitive decline that progressed to the point she was nonverbal.

“Through these tablets and engagement her interest in life was reawakened,” he said.

Published in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on October 1, 2018

Written by Elizabeth Newman, Senior Editor


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