When the University of Utah Health’s Visitor Policy was updated a few weeks ago to better protect patients, visitors, providers and staff from the potential spread of COVID-19, most patients were unable to have friends or family accompany them to doctor visits. Development officers on behalf of the Division of Geriatrics reached out to the library to secure iPads to help patients connect with family members. In a statement, they said,
“The Hospital’s change to the visitation policy restricting all visitors and volunteers drastically impacted our patients from connecting with the outside world. Patients over the age of 70 already have a high risk of developing delirium while they are in the hospital. Severing personal interaction could have a devastating impact on older patients. The iPads borrowed from the library will allow all geriatric patients (with COVID19 or not) to maintain meaningful connections with family, friends and volunteers. It is our hope that this will decrease the likelihood of patients developing delirium while they are being treated at University Hospital.”
Library IT from the Eccles Health Sciences Library and Marriott Library jumped in to lend several iPads to the division and removed barriers to the technology allowing patients to easily access video-chat options. Heidi Greenberg, Associate Director of Administration for Eccles Health Sciences Library, and Devin Donaldson, Assistant Head of Student Computing, collected iPads from both libraries and delivered them to the School of Medicine. Topher Nadauld, Senior System Administrator, and Richard Glaser, IT Manager at Marriott Library, then worked with Junior Lobju, IT Technician, at the School of Medicine to set the iPads up for patient use. A special thanks to all those involved that made this happen. This can be a scary time for many and technology can help bring us closer together.