COVID-19 patients at Los Angeles County hospitals will be able to communicate with loved ones using iPads. (photo courtesy of the County of Los Angeles)On May 7, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services announced the donation of 300 iPads to its four hospitals to facilitate patient-family communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift was made through a partnership with the Annenberg Foundation, Brilliant Corners and the Los Angeles County Center for Strategic Partnerships.
“The engagement of loved ones during hospitalization has been shown to improve clinical outcomes,” DHS Director Dr. Christina Ghaly said. “Clinical staff identified a role for virtual visiting through technology in order to facilitate this family involvement. The generous donations by the Annenberg Foundation and MobileDemand will help support this critical element of our patients’ care.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patient visitation by family and loved ones is limited at facilities in order to prevent exposure and the spread of disease. While there are some exceptions, such as the birth of a child or death of a patient, visitation is not permitted for the vast majority of patients and not allowed at all for COVID-19 patients.
The donation provides 300 iPads to be used in DHS hospitals to ensure patients and their families are able to connect, despite restrictions in access to the hospital. A second donation, by MobileDemand, provides rugged, protective healthcare iPad cases to protect against damage and loss. The rugged case also has an adjustable easel attached, providing effortless viewing for patients who are too weak to hold a tablet.
“This is a wonderful example of how philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, government and businesses can collaborate and meet an immediate need in our community,” said Wallis Annenberg, chairman, president and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. “Being able to offer an opportunity for comfort and connection to those suffering and to alleviate some of the stress from our frontline caregivers is of utmost importance.”
While social distancing has been successful in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 surge in Los Angeles County, it is anticipated that it will continue for several months. With this gift, physicians and nurses will be able to place an iPad in the room of COVID and other critically ill patients for the duration of the admission and reduce potential exposure and use of personal protective equipment going in and out of the room. Having a stationary iPad helps relieve medical staff, who would otherwise have to hold the phone for a patient or search for the person’s personal phone. It also will allow patients who do not have a personal mobile device to communicate with their family.
For information, visit dhs.lacounty.gov.
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