Annex Helps the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the global community, most notably on our high-risk population. When the policy of physical distancing was implemented at Peace Arch Hospital, patients in care centres were closed off from visitors including family and friends. For many of the patients, these visits are the most important part of their daily lives. A solution was sorely required to ensure these patients received their most crucial need, human interaction.
Peace Arch Hospital Foundation is fundamental to patients’ well-being by raising funds, advocating, and supporting initiatives to enhance health and wellness. The Foundation has done incredible work facing the devastating effects of the pandemic. They put out a call to the community to donate gently used iPads. These devices would be used to install communication apps for video calls between patients and their loved ones. The community answered, and the response was overwhelming! However, the Foundation still needed someone with technical experience who could wipe the iPads and prepare them for use within the hospital.
Building a Team
The Foundation reached out to Annex Helps – the corporate responsibility program run by Annex Consulting Group – to put out a call for volunteers. They found exactly what they were looking for in Aron Brar, a volunteer with strong technical skills. The team set to work connecting patients to their loved ones using donated iPads and tablets.
Aron solved problems as they arose. It was clear that people needed to be able to use the devices easily. Aron’s primary concern was usability. He had the initiative to ensure the devices were user-friendly and accessible. For example, he had the foresight to place the requested apps on the default home screen for all devices. He bypassed common issues by installing a variety of communication apps that could be supported by different types of devices, as well as creating distinct addresses, IDs and accounts for each device. He focused on a few common apps and made sure they could be set up on every device to be as mobile as possible. This way patients and their loved ones could seamlessly connect.
When faced with difficult problems, Aron reached out to Annex Helps to collaborate with other volunteers and share solutions. Through teamwork, Aron acquired the means to overcome challenges, like the problem of having separate accounts for each device using separate e-mail addresses. This was instrumental in making the devices work synchronously. With the opportunity to join forces and learn from other volunteers, Aron excelled at adapting solutions to new circumstances. Aron said, “It was a great collaboration between volunteers to complete this project.”
Helping People Connect
Aron helped patients connect with their families and friends, collectively brightening the hospital atmosphere. When asked what made the project important to him, Aron replied, “Because there will be improvement in the patients’ experience.” This was accomplished by bringing joy to the residential care units.
Not only did he assist in connecting loved ones, but Aron also wanted to help alleviate stress in the residential-care units by boosting morale. Aron felt it was important to “assist healthcare workers on the front line in some small way.” Healthcare workers have also benefited from seeing happiness reintroduced into the hospital atmosphere.
A Welcome Addition
The iPads have been a huge hit and a welcome addition to the units at Peace Arch Hospital. Patients are thrilled to be able to communicate with their families again. Hearing their voices and seeing their smiling faces has made a big difference.
Teamwork brought families and friends together by bridging a gap between the patients in residential care centres and the community. The iPads worked to reunite people virtually. This has been significant in re-establishing a sense of normality in uncertain times.
When tragedy strikes the most effective resource is humanity. With the efforts of volunteers like Aron Brar, the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation, and Annex Helps, the devastating effects of isolation and stress have been significantly reduced. Not only were the iPads very positive for the patients and staff, but also the community by providing the freedom to connect directly with loved ones currently undergoing care.
Annex Consulting Group is an IT recruitment and solutions company that provides IT contractors, employees and project teams to clients across North America. Established in 1998, Annex has placed thousands of IT and business professionals for hundreds of clients with an industry-leading 97% customer satisfaction rating.
About Annex Helps
Annex Helps is a volunteer program to help front-line essential services organizations, not-for-profits and charities in their fight against COVID-19. If you represent an organization that needs volunteers, or you wish to donate your time and expertise, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. While Annex’s purpose is to make connections that change lives, the purpose of Annex Helps is to make connections that save lives.
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