New iPads Bring Patients and Families Together While Apart

Hospital stays can be tough for patients and families, and they became even more challenging when physical distancing and visitor restrictions came into effect this spring. But thanks to the extraordinary support of our community, we are bringing patients and families closer together — even while they are physically apart.

Through generous contributions to our COVID-19 Critical Response Fund, we have invested in iPads to help patients in every area of our hospital stay connected to their families. These iPads are making a positive impact throughout The Vic, especially in our Mental Health program.

For patients who are in isolation while they are being monitored for COVID-19 symptoms or when needed as part of their care plan, these iPads are now playing a vital role in their treatment.

“Social interaction is very important for healing, mental health, and recovery,” said Dr. Sherief El-Gaaly, Medical Site Director of Mental Health. “From a therapeutic standpoint, to be able to participate in groups is a major component of treatment.”

With groups being limited under the current circumstances, the iPads have been instrumental in helping patients connect with each other virtually. Staff have had the opportunity to recommend self-learning programs for patients that focus on relaxation techniques to complement their treatment. These devices also serve as a source of entertainment to help patients stay engaged as they concentrate on their recovery.

The reaction to new iPads has been overwhelmingly positive, from both patients and families.

“Patients were very grateful and touched to have access to the iPads, especially since some of them are unable to afford one,” said Dr. El-Gaaly. “It was a very pleasant surprise. It has been important for families as they have been worried and anxious and are unable to go in common areas to see their loved ones.”

In addition to helping families communicate with each other, Dr. El-Gaaly says the iPads help families stay informed and involved in their loved one’s care.

“It has been very helpful for families to have an avenue to discuss their loved one’s treatment plan with the team while they are in the room,” said Dr. El-Gaaly. “The iPads make it possible to have a family meeting. It is very important for families to be part of discussions on how the patient is doing and discharge planning, as well as to be able to see the doctor and have the opportunity to ask questions.” 

Thank you to all who have generously contributed to our COVID-19 response efforts to date — we are so grateful! Support the well-being of our patients and frontline workers here.