100 iPads donated to Atrium Health so patients can connect with loved ones under COVID-19 visitor restrictions

Updated: Apr. 29, 2020 at 3:19 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Atrium Health Foundation and AT&T donated 100 iPads to Atrium Health so its patients could still connect with family members virtually, under the COVID-19 visitor restrictions.

Atrium Health implemented visitor restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Immediately, Chaplains began thinking of ways patients could stay connected with their loved ones even if they could not be together in person.

Kimberly Saxton dropped her mother off at Atrium Health University City on April 5th for sodium infusions. She says normally she and her sister were with their mother around the clock when she was hospitalized. Due to visitor restrictions in place, they couldn’t stay with her that time.

“But we never thought that would be the last time we saw her,” Saxton said. “We thought we’d drop her off, get her sodium levels up and would see her in a couple of days.”

Saxton says her mother’s health took a turn for the worse and about a week later they were told she only had a few hours left to live.

“On April 13, everything happened so fast, but they called us and said she flat lined and we needed to get up there,” Saxton said.

Saxton and her sister got to the hospital, but they knew their brother, who lives in New York, would not make it in time. Thanks to the iPad donations, Kimberly held an iPad up to their mother as her brother said his final goodbye.

“I can’t even put into words how that experience just really put my brother in a better space to be able to see my mom before she passed,” Saxton said.

Chaplain Manager at Atrium Health University City Lee Jock says in cases where a patient is COVID-19 negative, Chaplains are able to go into the room and connect the families with the patient via iPad. In situations where a patient is COVID-19 positive, he says nurses are bringing in the iPads.

“We don’t want to waste PPE so wee are going in when the nurse is already going in to do something else,” Jock explained.

The 100 iPads will be available at all of Atrium Health’s hospitals. Jock says they will be used to connect patients with loved ones even when visitor restrictions are lifted.

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