A specialist palliative care centre in Cork city has asked the public to donate iPads or tablets to patients who are cut off from their families arising out of Covid-19 visitor restrictions.
Marymount University Hospital and Hospice was founded in 1870. The facility provides 44 specialist palliative care beds, an extensive ambulatory care/daycare facility, accommodation for the community palliative care team, and full educational and library resources.
There are 63 elderly care beds and a daycare facility on campus.
In a statement, the Curraheen based hospital said the decision to restrict visitors was a difficult one given that the facility provides end of life care.
"Without the normal face-to-face interactions with their loved ones our patients understandably may feel a little lost without their trusted partner, siblings, sons, daughters, and friends - the people who are their guardians and protectors in their time of need."
Marymount said that one of their patients is a ninety-four-year-old whom they are calling John for the purpose of conveying his story.
“Four weeks ago John brought his 87-year-old wife, Nora (not her real name) a cup of tea in bed like any other day. Later that day his doctor advised John that he needed to be admitted to an acute Cork hospital due to increasingly severe pains. The following day he was admitted.
"Nora and his daughter Mary (not her real name) and every other family member have been unable to physically see John since the day he was admitted four weeks ago.
It was four days before they could even hear his voice using his first mobile phone that Mary left in the hospital reception for his use. While John is thankfully not suffering from Covid-19, the current precautions are having a huge impact on him and his family."
Staff said that John's form has improved tremendously since his daughter dropped off an iPad.
"Earlier this week one of our pastoral care team spotted an iPad that had been delivered for his attention with instructions from his daughter Mary. Together they set it up and within 10 minutes John was able to facetime his daughter and then his wife Nora.
"It was a wonderful emotional moment as they spoke and laughed face to face for the first time in a month, catching up on the news, sharing jokes, singing songs, bemoaning the lack of hairdressing facilities (aren’t we all Nora!) and connecting.
Not only this – John’s iPad has meant that his daughter Mary can be move involved in details of his care, as she would have been in more normal circumstances, and she has been videoconferenced during medical appointments meaning she can help support him from afar."
Due to social distancing, families are unable to support their loved ones in the way they would have before.
People who are admitted to Marymount are not able to be present; to hold the hands of their loved ones at times they might need that simple comfort and physical touch.
The hospice has purchased two designated ward iPads and they have also received five donated iPads.
Due to infection control, they would love to be in a position to have an iPad or tablet in every room so that this connection is available to all. They are asking for the support of the public.
"If you would like to support us in any way in helping us to open up connections between our patients and their families – we are very gratefully accepting donations of tablets and iPads.
"If you are able to help us in any way please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also donate to our technology at https://www.gofundme.com/f/MarymountTechAppeal
Meanwhile, Cork's 96FM & C103 have joined forces with the Mercy Hospital Foundation and CUH Charity today to support “Cork’s Frontline Legends”.
People are encouraged to make a one-off €19 euro donation to support services for medical staff who are going above and beyond to save lives.
CUH is looking to develop an internal and external wellness area while the Mercy wants staff to have the support they need to build their resilience as they treat Covid-19 patients.
Donations can be be made at https://www.96fm.ie/local/corks-96fm-supporting-corks-frontline-legends/