The PA AT Program partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and utilized CARES Act funding to add hundreds of iPad tablets, apps, Chromebooks, and Wi-Fi Hotspots to our AT Lending Library. Borrowers used these devices devices to mitigate social isolation, access remote services, telehealth appointments, grocery and meal deliveries, and video calls, as well as other services.
Because of this new collaboration and increased inventory in our statewide lending library, we did not see an anticipated dramatic reduction in our loans due to the pandemic. More people were able to access tablets and laptops during the pandemic. Lessons learned were that consumers wanted longer loan periods (we increased to 9 weeks) and ultimately wanted ownership programs. We subsequently applied for a grant to start a tablet ownership program the the CDC and PA Dept. of Health.