Face-to-face interactions and human touch between family and friends are not always possible during this time, especially in a healthcare setting. As teachers reach out remotely and coworkers meet over zoom, frontline healthcare workers are also finding creative ways to connect people through telemedicine. While there is no replacement for physical closeness between patients and their loved ones, virtual connections can help ease discomfort and maintain bonds.
That's why the resident physicians and medical students at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, launched a fundraising initiative to keep families together through this difficult time. After witnessing patients separated from their loved ones and not being able to say their last goodbyes, these healthcare heroes asked for donations of tablets to facilitate video conferences between family and friends and the people they care about in the hospital.
"I wish I could say that interactions on an iPad are just like being in the room. But nothing substitutes that personal connection. Even when you can't touch or hug your loved one. Your presence is irreplaceable," explains Michelle Mourad, MD, Vice-Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, as reported by ABC7 News. But she says connecting with patients through iPads is the "next best thing."
Over 100 iPads have been donated to #ConnectingThroughCovid so far. When LocknCharge found out about the UCSF Health iPad initiative, we knew that these devices would need a place to charge as well as a secure location to be stored when not in use. With that in mind, LocknCharge was honored to donate two iQ 10 charging stations. These charging stations take up minimal space and include baskets that allow health care providers to share and safely distribute devices between multiple locations.
After the charging stations were received and implemented, a member of the UCSF medical resident team contacted LocknCharge about the success of the project as well as to provide an update in the form of patient stories. We are humbled beyond words to be a part of this compassionate and caring initiative and grateful for the opportunity to share these three patient stories with you.
Siblings Express their Love
One patient, newly diagnosed with Leukemia, barely finds the strength to lift her head from her pillow. Her smile is hued with sadness as she stares at her brother and sister on an iPad screen. Unfortunately, she is not the sickest in her family as her brother is reaching his final days in hospice. They unfeignedly say, "I love you" numerous times with slight trepidation that it might be their last chance to mouth those words.
A Prayer for Jerome
One patient struggles to catch his breath while he speaks to us in his hospital. He was recently admitted after severe weakness causing him not to be able to walk. He also suffers from blindness and heart failure, but what he wants most is to speak to his friend and surrogate decision-maker. We video call his friend on the iPad, and the first thing our patient asks for is prayer. His friend grabs his wife and kids, and they pray for Jerome, tears streaming from his face as he softly stares at the screen.
Reaching out Across the Country to Ease Loneliness
One patient calls his niece, elated, shares that his surgery was a success. He has felt lonely the past couple of days in the hospital and uses the tablets three days in a row to now connect with his family across the United States.
Over 140+ individuals and groups have donated to #ConnectingThroughCovid. If you would like to contribute, visit the UCSF - Connecting Patients and Families GoFundMe. Your donation will help connect these patients to their loved ones and positively affect the lives of countless people.
Virtual Connections between Patients and Loved Ones Provide Comfort