Thanks to the kind generosity of the local community, donated iPads are being used in hospitals within South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to enable patients to keep in touch with their loved ones.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it sadly became necessary to suspend almost all visiting across the trust’s hospital sites last month.
The restricted visiting meant that those patients on end of life care could only have one visitor each day.
But, following an appeal for iPads, by the trust’s specialist palliative care team’s Dragonfly Scheme; relatives will now able to keep in with patients during these unusual times.
The Dragonfly Scheme, launched in 2016, aims to improve end of life care for both patients and relatives in hospital.
After the team came up with the idea to use ‘virtual visiting’, Macmillan palliative and end of life support sister, Laura Graham, approached Russell Jameson from the Teesside Help Facebook page for support, who then set up a Just Giving page to enable them to buy iPads for patients to use.
The trust has also received kind donations from Derek Layland, Parkend and Beckfield Community Forum and Middlesbrough Philanthropic Foundation.
Laura said the team have been overwhelmed with the support of the local community with this project.
She added: “Ordinarily, being with a loved one that is dying for many is a basic need, but at this very difficult time many people cannot be there as they are at risk themselves, so to offer the option of a virtual visit is amazing.
“It cannot replace contact but we hope it will bring some comfort to both parties and stop the feeling of isolation.
“As nurses we always would strive to convey the love of family they long to share in person, this is another way we can do this and it may help to relieve some of the distress.”
Due to infection control the iPads need to be new and unused.
People who would like to donate can do so online through Russell Jameson’s Just Giving Page.
If any staff members reading this want to know more about how to access the tablets please contact the specialist palliative care team between 8.30am and 4.30pm daily or message their Facebook page ‘Comfort Packs South Tees Hospitals’.