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ipadActivity coordinator Debbie Hewitt has received glowing feedback from families after turning to technology to help them keep in touch with elderly relatives.

Debbie works across three elderly care wards at the hospital and has been using an iPad to connect loved ones who’ve been forced apart by visiting restrictions.

Activity workers are responsible for planning and implementing plans for patients that will stimulate interests and skills, and assist in promoting social, intellectual and other recreational activities.

When the COVID pandemic hit, Debbie quickly realised that many normal activity sessions with patients would be difficult to implement as many patients were being admitted with symptoms.

Debbie said: “It soon became apparent that patients’ emotions and well-being were really affected by the lack of communications with their family and loved ones.

“I began to show patients how to use the bedside phone and pass on the number for the phone to families. Although this gave some evidence of well-being, families really wanted to be able to see their loved one in person.

“Our Macmillan team offered some of the wards the use of an iPad, and it has proved to be invaluable.”

Debbie said that having video calls has been a hugely beneficial way of communicating, and even when she has made calls to allow families to say goodbye to loved ones, just being able to see each other’s faces has been a great comfort.

Debbie has received numerous messages of thanks from patients’ families for helping them to stay in touch and hopes that the iPad use will continue.

“This has really highlighted the benefits of up-to-date technology. We have all had to work differently and it’s proven to me that there is a place for iPads especially with in my role on wards for older people as often their partners may find it difficult to visit or may also be unwell.”

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  • Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    Nethermayne, Basildon
    Essex  SS16 5NL
    Switchboard: 01268 524900

  • The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre
    Nethermayne, Basildon
    Essex SS16 5NL
    Switchboard: 01268 524900

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