Fifty tablet devices are to be distributed to individuals and organisations across Ireland caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of an initiative by Heroes-Aid.
The not-for-profit organisation, which was set up in the early stages of the pandemic, will send out tablets to 25 locations – including four in Galway.
Two devices will be distributed to the Acute Dialysis Unit at UHG, the Holy Family Nursing Home in Killimor, St Mary’s Nursing Home in Shantalla, and Oncology Nurses at Our Lady of Knock Unit at Galway Clinic.
The individuals and organisations were selected by Vicky Phelan from a group of nominees submitted by members of the public and fellow healthcare workers.
Heroes-Aid received hundreds of nominations, which included those working in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, GP Practices, and community and social care settings around the country.
The tablet donation initiative was launched to assist healthcare workers to overcome the communication challenges brought on by COVID-19, and it is hoped that the devices will allow healthcare staff to communicate clearly with people while following social distancing guidelines.
CEO of Heroes-Aid Mary Leahy said that COVID-19 presents challenges in communicating between healthcare staff and their patients.
“Technology has become a major asset to assist in overcoming these communication barriers,” she said.
“Frontline healthcare workers can use these tablet devices to communicate with their patients while adhering to social distancing guidelines.”
Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail, Medical Director of Heroes-Aid, said that the masks, goggles and visors that frontline healthcare workers are wearing have created a real barrier in terms of communication between patients and healthcare providers.
“The restriction on physical contact and the covering of faces with masks has meant that simple gestures we used to take for granted, such as a reassuring smile or touching a patient’s hand, no longer occur.
“We hope these tablets enable healthcare providers and patients to communicate safely, in a more human way.”