July 21, 2021
Tablets Allow COVID-19 Patients to Communicate with Family Members
November 24, 2020
Maurice “Tony” Adkins, MPH, PA-C, MCHS, keeps his eyes open for ways he can help his patients. Known as the “Dancing PA,” Adkins frequently incorporates some lighthearted dancing during his patient visits, boosting his patients’ morale and alleviating at least a small portion of their stress. During the spring surge of COVID-19, Adkins found additional ways to help – and bring joy to – his patients.
Adkins works not only at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, in Orange County, California, but also across the street at St. Joseph Hospital in the emergency department. He worked in COVID zones, which focused on patients who had both confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19.
No communication devices
Given the close relationship between the Children’s Hospital and St. Joseph (many pediatric patients phase out of the Children’s Hospital and transfer to St. Joseph), Adkins knows many of the other healthcare providers there. During his emergency department shifts, while talking to his colleagues, Adkins heard that many of the nurses were using their personal phones to help patients FaceTime with their families. “Patients would come into the hospital without any communication device at all,” Adkins recalls. “I realized I had an opportunity to help.”
Mobilizing his network
Adkins, who is active on social media and has a large following, tapped into his resources. “I set up a GoFundMe page and asked my followers to either donate tablets they didn’t want or need anymore, or to make a monetary donation to the GoFundMe page.” He got a groundswell of support. “Within weeks, I was able to donate over 300 tablets to St. Joseph Hospital.”
“Before COVID-19, we all took it for granted: that your family could be with you when you were in the hospital,” Adkins says. “With these necessary restrictions in place, you can imagine, it can be pretty lonely.” Now, St. Joseph uses the 300 tablets throughout the hospital; the tablets allow patients to communicate face-to-face with their families via FaceTime and Zoom. Adkins smiles: “It was a huge success. The patients love it; they can connect with their loved ones. That’s really important during these times.”