How are you doing? The conversation heals. Mass calls to the elderly

How are you doing? The conversation heals. Mass calls to the elderly

Barcelona City Council

Image from Pixabay.

The Barcelona City Council’s Directorate for Ageing and Cures promoted this project with the coordination of the Department for the Promotion of Older People and the Directorate for Social Innovation, to take an interest in the emotional well-being of people aged 70-84 who were not linked to municipal services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and to inform them, when necessary, about existing resources that could improve their emotional state and their social isolation and/or loneliness.

Throughout the entire project, between June 2020 and July 2021, 53,382 people aged 70-84 were called automatically via 227,153 automated calls. Of the people called, 5,433 responded that they did want someone representing the City Council to call them personally on the phone. As a result of this, 7,961 personal calls were made, in which a telephone conversation was held with 4,714 people, filling out a form of 16 diagnostic questions (about loneliness or social isolation, sadness, anxiety, worries, information needs, etc.) to 4,360 people.

Verbio, a conversational technology company, using artificial intelligence and natural language processing, made the automated phone calls. Fundación Avismón, with expertise and sensitivity in the care and support of elderly people, was in charge of making the personal phone calls and providing information and guidance. And the Fundación Salud y Persona attended to 168 people expressing emotional distress, with professional psychologists by telephone (approximately 3 calls per person referred).

Ajuntament de Barcelona