Donations of all types are coming in to help the healthcare workers at Ridge Meadows Hospital care for people directly and indirectly impacted by COVID-19. (Special to The News)

Donations of all types are coming in to help the healthcare workers at Ridge Meadows Hospital care for people directly and indirectly impacted by COVID-19. (Special to The News)

Gifted tablet help connect patients with loved-ones

Amid COVID, Ridge Meadows Hospital continues to receive a variety of different kinds of donations

Through the aid of technology, Ridge Meadows Hospital staff has helped a couple – one being a patient – “celebrate” a milestone anniversary. They’ve also helped another family sing Happy Birthday to their father.

When in-person visits have been made impossible due to the COVID pandemic, the team at the local hospital has had to get creative in finding methods to connect shut-in patients with their loved ones on the outside.

Well, more virtual visits have been made possible thanks to a recent donation.

Joel, through Telus in Burnaby, donated 10 Samsung Galaxy Tablets that will help facilitate communication between family members, and it has social worker Jay Robinson overjoyed.

“A hospital admission can mean many things. It can be a life changing experience after being diagnosed with a chronic illness; it can mean a loss of a loved one; or it can be a celebration of a new life. Despite the reason, these are times in our lives when we need our family and friends more than ever,” she said.

While having the support and closeness with loved ones is so valued, the pandemic has challenged all healthcare workers to find alternative ways to support patient and family psycho-social care needs, when not able to allow family and friends physically inside the hospital walls.

“Communication that flows naturally when family and friends can visit has all been lost, worry and anxiety for families at home has increased,” Robinson told The News.

“This experience has demonstrated how important the value of connection with family is for healing and support us through life transitions,” she added, noting that with help from Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, they’re able to help patients and families connect.

“Hearing a loved ones voice can bring a world of comfort and better yet, being able to see your loved one is even more reassuring,” Robinson said of the tablets that are providing the next best thing to face-to-face connections.

“Worried families have been so grateful when we have been able to let them know that we can help them communicate with their loved one, and also with the care team to involve them in care planning virtually,” she said.

Citing an example, Robinson told how use of a tablet connected a couple who are going through an “unfortunate time.” Both are in different Lower Mainland hospitals with no other way to connect – until now.

“We have helped a family to participate in some rehabilitation interventions with a loved one to see their progression with walking after surgery,” she said, sharing another personal story.

“In addition to care planning, we have also been able to ensure patients and families did not miss out on important milestones in life due to being in hospital,” she said, helping them share anniversaries and birthdays, for example.

“We can’t imagine how difficult it would have been to support these, and many other patients and families during this difficult time without the benefit of this technology,” Robinson said.

The tablets are just one example of the type of donations currently flooding in to the hospital from local individuals and businesses, explained hospital foundation executive director Laura Butler.

Students at Meadowridge School, for instance, recently held a fundraiser that raised $4,443 for high-priority COVID-19 related needs within the hospital.

In recent weeks, the hospital has also been experienced an outpouring of community support and kindness that has come in the form of pallets snacks, crates of beverages, countless hot meals, not to mention numerous donations of disinfectant and gloves, scrub caps, superhero-themed masks, and even 300 face shields, Butler recounted.

There was even a pair of sisters, Adrianna and Ella, who spent two weekends in a row playing the ukulele and singing in their neighbourhood. They collected $120 to help buy protective gear for local healthcare workers.

“Our hearts are full,” said Butler.

On the flip side, the foundation presented a cheque for more than $6,500 to the Friends in Need Food Bank as a result of the hospital staff’s recent pay it forward campaign.

“This was a way for the healthcare workers to come together as a team and say thank you to the community for all the generosity and the donations of food that they have been receiving, but also a way to #sharethelove and pay it forward to those in the community that are hit harder in a different way than those in healthcare,” Butler explained.

Donations are still being accpeted for Ridge Meadows Hospital through the hospital foundation, which can be reached at 604-463-1822 or their website at www.rmhfoundation.com.

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