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Samsung Galaxy tablets keeping patients and relatives connected

Last year, we were donated some Samsung Galaxy tablets by Sussex Freemasons for our patients and relatives to use whilst staying in the hospice. 

Each tablet is loaded with various apps for people to use including Zoom, BBC iPlayer, BBC News, Spotify, ITV Hub, All4, the NHS website and our hospice website amongst others. The tablets also have a link to our St Catherine’s West Sussex library account. This allows people to borrow magazines, e-books and audio books and enjoy reading these on the tablet.

Most importantly though, the tablets are helping patients to keep in touch with their families. Although we’re still allowing essential visitors, COVID has restricted normal visitor numbers and the length of time that someone can visit. To help with this, ward staff have been helping patients hold video calls with their relatives and friends.

Ela, one of our staff nurses, told us, “One of the things I’ve struggled with lately is seeing how sad patients and relatives are when they’re not able to see each other. After you start getting to know a patient, their life story and establish a professional relationship with them it’s very hard when they’re missing their family. It could be their wife that they’ve lived with for 50 years they’re missing as all of a sudden they can’t see each other. It could a parent who can’t see their child. It could be anyone. It really breaks my heart when I have to say no to a simple question like “Can I visit my husband today?’’ or ‘’Can I see my father?’’. I know exactly how my patients and their relatives feel when they can’t see their loved one because I’m in the same situation. It’s been two years since I’ve seen my own family. 

I was so excited when I heard about the tablets that were donated as it’s so nice to enable patients and relatives to see each other. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me! I couldn’t wait to try a tablet, and I was able to use one recently with a patient who can’t have visitors at the moment. She was able to see her family online, and I have to say, it was a very emotional moment. I can’t describe the happiness I saw in the patient and her families’ eyes when they were able to see each other.

I know tablets are something that most people have access to at home, and nowadays a video call for some people might not be a big thing, but for us this donation has made such a big difference, and brought so many smiles and happy tears to our hospice.”

Lisa Rainier, our Chaplain and Lead for Spiritual Support, has also utilised the tablets to support patients with spiritual care. Lisa said, “The tablets gave opportunity for one patient to watch a special church service from her bed, which meant so much to her and her family, and I was able access a particular piece of music that I knew would be helpful for another.”

We’re also currently working on using these tablets for wellbeing sessions. We’re hoping to hold sessions facilitated by some of our brilliant volunteers including; meditation with Graham, mindfulness with Nicola, and music with Ann. And we’re exploring the opportunity of having caricature drawings done by Helen, another of our wonderful volunteers. By using the tablets, patients on our wards will have access to the same wellbeing sessions as our patients and family members in their homes.

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