Two London critical care experts have launched a campaign to crowdfund thousands of tablet computers to enable families to connect with seriously ill coronavirus patients.
They aim to donate at least 5,000 devices to hospitals so relatives can see the care being provided and, if the patient fails to recover from Covid-19, say their last goodbyes.
The Life Lines project has been set up by Dr Joel Meyer, a consultant at St Thomas’ hospital, and Professor Louise Rose, from King’s College London.
Patients requiring intubation have to be sedated and can no longer speak. Dr Meyer said it was “deeply frightening” for patients to be alone and distressing for their relatives, who are almost always self-isolating and unable to visit.
He said. “Not being able to connect with loved ones is such a cruel element of this pandemic. Although ICU patients are usually sedated, hearing a loved one’s voice can be comforting.”
Communication is via the secure online platform aTouchAway. It allows families to be “virtually present” at the bedside and ask questions of medics.
Seed funding of £1 million has been provided by the True Colours Trust and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.