To limit the spread of COVID-19, hospitals have temporarily put in place visitor restrictions Many patients are permitted no visitors until the pandemic comes to an end.However, the sense of loneliness associated with visitor restrictions can be overwhelming for many patients. Hospitals recommend patients connect with family virtually while COVID-19 is still a concern.It is this recommendation which has prompted a group to collect old iPads to donate to hospitals so that hospital patients can visit with their loved ones.
This movement has attracted doctors from at least nineteen states. They are collecting iPads, and other smart devices as well, to provide patients a means of virtual communication with their friends and family. This effort started in Boston when doctors and nurses started lending their own phones to patients. A breast radiologist heard about doctors and nurses sharing their phones with patients. She saw how dangerous this was for the doctors and nurses and decided to do something about it. So, with the help of her two sons and a friend, they started contacting everyone they knew asking if they had devices they could spare. They would text their friend who would text a friend who would text a friend, and quickly it spread to social media.The word got out and the movement started to find new ways for patients to visit with their loved ones, or say goodbye if necessary. The Boston hospital now has plenty of devices for patients.
The mother and her two sons pick up the devices placed in ziplock bags. They then make sure they’re disinfected and ready to go for operation. They have to wipe the data from the device and make sure the device is working before shipping them out to hospitals. So far the group hassent devices to other hospitals in the New England Area as well.
This small gesture has now spread to other states. California, Colorado, Montana, Texas, Missouri, and Florida are just a few of the states that have started their own version of this project. Another group dedicated to connecting patients with their loved ones consists of Ian Kaplan, Amy Johnson, and Shenara Musthaq. So far this group has raised over 22,000 dollars on their gofundme and brought in over 375 iPads for hospitals.
This group was started by Amy Johnson and Jeff Arace, who are both medical students in Brooklyn. The goal was to connect patients with their loved ones, but they have also found a way for it to help the medical professionals. By giving the patients iPads, the doctors can communicate with the patient outside of the room, which decreases their exposure. It also recycles old devices. Kaplan said, “The lifeblood of what we’re doing is making use of people’s iPads that are in their drawers and on their desks that they don’t use anymore.”
The group has found ways to get iPads for free as well as for a cheaper price. One supplier is even selling them iPads for a third of the price. The group is using money raised on their gofundme to purchase and distribute the new devices.