Grande Prairie Palliative Care Society provides end of life care at home in hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice centres. The organization received New Horizons Seniors Program (NHSP) funding for its Virtual Care Community Project, which loaned iPads to seniors to ensure they could maintain critical connections to friends and family during the pandemic. It also helped connect staff members with a senior’s family to help answer questions and coordinate services across organizations.
Staying connected with loved ones became challenging but even more important during COVID-19. Through this program, 310 seniors utilized the iPad loan program to stay connected with their family and community.
“When my Dad was in hospice, we were offered the use of an iPad to connect Dad (and us) with family that are far away. When they brought the iPad to us, they showed us everything they had on the iPad for us to use and enjoy.
We were given an email address and a cloud account that was identified by Dad’s room number. We were told to use it however we wanted as the device would be reset when we were done with it. They encouraged us to take tons of pictures and videos as the iPad was set to upload to the cloud and all those photos and videos would be there for all of us to share for years to come.
They taught us how to set up a group chat with all his closest friends and family so we could give regular updates and share happy memories. They showed us their website where we could access information.
This was especially helpful for me as I wanted to know what to expect, what was normal and what wasn’t. I learned about Dad’s breathing and how it would change. This impacted me greatly when he started the “death rattle” because I knew what it was it did not scare me. I knew it was okay. We Facetimed with the kids, grandkids and great grandkids when Dad was awake.
Dad’s only surviving brother facetimed from Vancouver as his health is too poor to come see Dad. This was probably the hardest and most beautiful thing we did in that short time. I do not have words for the kindness, love and support we were shown at hospice by all the staff and the ladies at Grande Prairie Palliative Care Society. These two groups working together gave us love and peace during our darkest hour.”