iPads to bring loved ones together digitally

08 Apr 2020

We’re proud to announce £80,000 for iPads across Barts Health NHS Trust.

The tablets will help patients communicate with their loved ones when visiting is not possible due to the COVID-19 lockdown.  

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To help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, hospitals across the country have placed restrictions on visitors. We’ve given £80,000 funding for the Barts Health NHS Trust hospitals to purchase hundreds of iPads, to help patients stay in touch with their loved ones digitally via video calls.

Dr Mamta Vaidya, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist at The Royal London was instrumental in getting the initiative up and running. She says “Being able to communicate with our loved ones when we feel vulnerable is so important. Alleviating this feeling of isolation for our anxious patients during their stay is crucial in looking after their wellbeing. Thanks to Barts Charity, we have started to make a difference.” 

They will be used not only for isolated patients with COVID-19, but those who continue to be admitted with other illnesses and cannot receive visitors. The iPads will be used across all wards, from the emergency departments, to the critical care units, to end-of-life care, to the chaplaincy, where they can be used for families to pray together.

Emily Huntingford, critical care nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital (right), helped one of her patients speak to his family using one of the iPads while he was being treated for coronavirus. She says: “Seeing the delight on his face at the sight of his son’s face made him come alive. As more and more faces appeared on the screen with happy greetings, the exclamations of joy and affection were infectious. The patient was able to meaningfully connect with his family, brightening him up. 

"The impact was clear – I had spoon fed him his breakfast that morning due to the weakness in his arms, but he was able to support the iPad in his own grip for the entire two-hour call. After the call, he had a renewed grit and determination, insisting he sat out of bed again for dinner. 

"I don’t believe that any action from myself, doctors, or physios could have encouraged him in this way. I wanted to share this reflection as a note of thanks for the kind donation of iPads.” 

Initiatives like this are only possible with your help. Donate to our emergency COVID-19 appeal to fund projects that support patients and staff during this difficult time.

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