Pictured above: Team members at College Street in the General Psychiatric Unit showcase their new tablets donated by the Slaight family.
By Hilary Caton, Communications Coordinator
Staying connected with family and loved ones has become an emotionally important part of getting through a pandemic.
In the early days, when CAMH was restricting visitors to protect patients, staff wanted to find a way to show patients that while they are apart from their families, they didn’t have to be alone.
This is when Quinn Kirby, Manager of Gifts of Light, had the idea of providing tablets to patients and with the help Gary and Donna Slaight that idea became a reality.
A $300,000 donation from the Slaight Family allowed CAMH to purchase tablets for all patients across the hospital.
“Over the last three months, we have been faced with many new and unexpected limitations and challenges surrounding the patient experience at CAMH. We believed that access to technology for our patients and allied staff could fill a big gap that we were facing, but it came with a hefty price tag,” says Quinn.
“Overnight we became reliant on technology for nearly every aspect of our jobs, so we knew right away that it was just as important to provide to our patients easier access to the online world as well. The pandemic was going to change the way we all interacted with one another.”
The donation from the Slaight family secured 500 tablets for patients to use at both Queen Street and College/Russell Street sites, as well as 54 tablets for staff to facilitate virtual care sessions.
This translated to every inpatient bed receiving a tablet.
To ensure all the tablets were properly equipped with the right software, the IMG technical team spent countless hours unboxing and programming all the tablets that went out to patients.
“It was just so unexpected and such a nice surprise that we were able to do this with their help. It was such a generous and thoughtful donation. You could tell the clinical staff was really happy to have them and knew they would be great for the patients, too” says Debra Orrell, Senior Manager of Enterprise Project Management Office Operations.
The tablets have benefitted patients across the hospital from geriatrics to Gifts of Light programming, which has shifted to a digital space, says Quinn.
“Because of this generous donation from the Slaight family, we have patients and staff from across the hospital tuning in daily to participate in live programming with our creative facilitators, and meeting new patients who share in similar interests and activities,” adds Quinn.
“We are proud to say that we have 27 programs running virtually every week and are working hard to grow this number.”