Transformation Directorate

Security guide for care home iPads

Recipient care homes are responsible for managing all data stored on the iPads, and taking appropriate steps to ensure that the devices are not misused.

NHSX has provided this security and protection guide and it must be followed so that care homes are well prepared to safeguard personal data on their devices, and fully understand the risks to the care homes, if the appropriate security measures are not followed.

Care providers should also visit Digital Social Care’s website to find out how to protect their IT systems more generally and register for the NHS’s Digital Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT). 

Using Guided Access

NHSX has designed the iPads so that they can be securely shared with residents by using Guided Access mode. Guided Access mode lets residents access one app on the iPad, but will not allow them to access anything on the iPad outside of that app. Care home staff can select any app to be used by a resident in Guided Access mode at the beginning of the session.

This means that residents can use the iPads without being able to access any applications that are used by care home staff and would be inappropriate for a resident to see.

How to use Guided Access mode

The initial set up guide from Jigsaw24 has a guide for using Guided Access on page 9. This can be found in the Books app on your iPad or you can also access the guide online (PDF, 1MB).

Using Safari to access the internet

Safari is the web browser on your iPad, and like Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, or Chrome on other devices, can be used to access the internet.

To protect care home staff and residents, NHSX has set up Domain Name Service (DNS) website filtering on your iPad’s 4G internet connection. This means that whenever a member of staff or a resident uses Safari to access the internet via the 4G connection, they will not be able to access inappropriate content such as adult content or computer viruses.

It is very important to know that if the iPad is connected to your care home’s own WiFi network, NHSX’s DNS filters will not work. If your care home does not have filters on its own WiFi network, staff and residents will be able to access inappropriate websites.

How to access your WiFi network securely 

Check with the individual or company that manages your IT or WiFi network whether any security filters have been set up.  If there are no security filters on your WiFi network, ask for them to be set up.

If you want to set up filters yourself the best way to do that is through parental control settings on standard WiFi routers. Internet Matters has a how-to guide for all major internet providers in the UK. On that webpage, click on the picture that shows your internet provider for more details.

Using the camera 

Your iPad has access to the inbuilt camera and photos app. These are useful tools for sharing and can be used to send images to a GP or health professional, or share a photo with a resident's family or loved ones. Because your iPad will be used by multiple staff, and by residents in Guided Access mode, you need to make sure their personal information is protected. 

How to use your iPad camera securely

NHSX asks that you put in place a policy for all staff, that they delete all photos stored in the photos app after they have been sent to or shared with the health professional or relative they are for. This will mean that residents’ privacy is protected and no sensitive photos are able to be shared inappropriately by other users of the device. 

Using the App Store and creating an Apple ID

Your iPad has access to the Apple App Store. In the Apple App Store you can download any app that you think would be beneficial either to you and your staff or to residents. NHSX has put protections in place on the App Store so that inappropriate apps cannot be downloaded, for example adult content or  gambling. 

To access the Apple App Store you need to set up an Apple ID on your iPad. You should set up an Apple ID that is specific to your care home if you want to use the Apple App Store. Using a personal Apple ID will mean that that person’s personal information is not safe. Any member of staff using that iPad will be able to paid apps that charge that Apple ID. Similarly any in-app purchases (for example coins or tokens in gaming apps) will be charged to that Apple ID.

How to use the App Store and Apple ID securely - set up a care home specific Apple ID

You will need an email address and mobile number that you use to verify the Apple ID account. These should be a care home email address (ideally one that multiple staff can access) and mobile number where possible. 

  1. Open the App Store app.
  2. Search for a free app and tap Get - any free app will have a Get button, paid apps have the price listed instead.
  3. When asked to sign in with an Apple ID, choose Create New Apple ID.
  4. Put in the care home email address and set-up a password.
  5. NHSX recommends that you select None when asked for payment method, unless you have a business card that you want to be used for app purchases on the iPad.
  6. You must verify your Apple ID before you can use it, and will be asked to put in your email address and mobile number now. You will be sent a verification code via text to the mobile number and a different verification code to the email inbox. To complete the set up you must enter both codes.

MS Teams with a staff account

If your iPad has MS Teams set up with a staff account, a resident could see the diary and email contacts of that staff account if they exit an MS Teams call to a relative without supervision. A resident may also see calendar pop-ups during that meeting. NHSX recommends that MS Teams is not used for resident to loved one calls.

Additionally, every time you close Teams you must remember to log out. This is so other people do not share your login details and to help keep data secure. Please see the terms of use for more information. Here is how to log out of MS Teams:

  1. Tap the 3 horizontal lines at the top left of your screen.
  2. Tap “Settings”.
  3. Scroll down until you see “Sign out” and then tap “Sign out”.
  4. You will see a pop up which says, “Are you sure you want to sign out?”. Tap “Sign Out” again.