This technology allows the contact of the sick with their relatives, who today are not allowed to go to the hospital

During the coronavirus pandemic, patients in hospitals are some of the people who suffer the most.

They fight a disease that could be fatal and must do it alone since family members are not allowed to visit due to how contagious this disease can be.

Azar Kattan, a spokeswoman for Harbor-UCLA Medical Center hospital, said that since the pandemic broke out in Los Angeles county hospitals they noted that patients needed contact with loved ones.

So they decided to partner with the Annenberg Foundation and MobileDemand to donate 300 iPads at the four Los Angeles County hospitals.

The hospitals benefited were the LAC + USC Medical Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.

IPads will help isolate patients to have virtual visits with family and friends during the pandemic.

Kattan said iPads will be in the rooms of certain patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and others with serious illnesses.

"Currently we do not allow anyone to visit patients because family members could be exposed (to the coronavirus) and (we also) do not know if they are positive cases … This also affects other critically ill patients," he explained.

With the technology of video calls it will be easier for family members to talk to patients in the hospital.

"Studies have shown that family involvement in patient care is really important to their recovery and improvement," added Kattan.

Joint effort

Danica Forsyth, a spokesperson for MobileDemand, which is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said the company has had a long-standing relationship with Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and that's why they supported it.

"They reached out expressing the need to help patients communicate with loved ones and we appreciate that we were able to provide 300 protective cases for iPads," he said.

Protective cases for iPads have adjustable patient stands that are too weak to hold a tablet, freeing healthcare personnel from having to hold devices for patients.

Forsyth said that for company president Matt Miller, it is important to step forward and help communities, either locally or nationally.

"We just want to be able to participate and help as we can and we are in a position to do so, so we are truly grateful to everyone involved in this effort," said Forsyth.

Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Aid Nurse Laura Avila uses an iPad to speak to a staff member who plays the role of an isolated "patient" at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. (Photo / Michael Owen Baker)

Access in and out of hospitals

Kattan said that starting Tuesday the iPads were distributed among the four hospitals and they will be in charge of creating a Family Call Center outside their facilities to also help family members who do not have devices and / or the Internet.

Some iPads will be installed in these family centers where people will visit virtually their sick relatives who are inside the hospital.

"IPads only work with hospital data so when the patient recovers the iPads are disinfected and saved for the next patient," said Kattan.

Cinny Kennard, executive director of the Annenberg Foundation said that once the coronavirus was declared a pandemic on March 11, the Annenberg Foundation went into action.

“We shifted our entire donation approach to emergency response to COVID-19 and part of that was that we discovered that our Los Angeles County Department of Health Services hospitals needed COVID-19 patients to be able to connect in some way. way with their families, ”he said.

“We also connected doctors with family members and we were able to partner with the county and other brilliant entities to do that.”

Other donor partners include Brilliant Corners and The Los Angeles County Center for Strategic Partnerships.

Wallis Annenberg, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation said in a statement that this is a wonderful example of how philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, government, and businesses can collaborate and meet an immediate need in the community.

"Being able to offer an opportunity for comfort and connection to those who suffer and alleviating some of the stress from our front-line caregivers is of utmost importance," Annenberg said.

Authorities said that while social distancing has been successful in flattening the COVID-19 surge curve in Los Angeles County, it is anticipated that it will continue for several months.
This is one more reason why patients who continue to arrive do not feel completely isolated and can maintain some kind of contact with the outside.


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