At East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, physicians, nurses other health
care providers often face the challenge of comforting young and teenage
patients during a hospital stay. Patients become anxious and fearful about
their illnesses and upcoming procedures.
Technology helps our smallest patients to our oldest teenagers. With our
iPad loaner program, children and teens have a distraction from being
in the hospital, and it can give a sense of normalcy by being able to
connect with friends and family. The iPad program began in 2015 in honor
of a Hematology/Oncology patient.
With the help of Webb School of Knoxville, a program called
Andy’s iPads was launched. Named for Andy Whitcomb, a Webb student who lost his battle
with cancer, the school rallied to provide iPads for use by Children’s
Hospital patients in his memory. Andy found great joy and comfort from
using an iPad to communicate with friends and play games using apps during
his extended hospital stays.
Cheryl Allmon, Director of Volunteer Services and Programs at East Tennessee
Children’s Hospital, said the program has been an incredible blessing
to the medical center and its young patients. “The ‘Andy’s
iPad’ program is having an incredible impact on the lives of patients
at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital,” Allmon said. “The
iPads are being used in many ways that we didn’t anticipate when
the program first started. We want to keep growing the program by adding
more iPads and apps for the patients to use.”
While receiving medical assistance at Children’s Hospital, patients
can now use the “Andy’s iPad” program to check out an
iPad for use during their hospital stay. Each patient floor has iPads
that hospital staff members can use to help distract patients during procedures
so they can stay connected to friends and family, and play games using
apps. Parents can also use the iPads to access the Internet to check email,
research conditions, or perform other tasks.
Since the program began, there have been other uses for the iPads as well.
The hospital’s language interpreters rely on the iPads to help communicate
with non-English speaking families. The iPads are additionally put to
work in several offices where lengthy tests are performed, to help occupy
children and keep them less stressed about the procedure. Children awaiting
surgery receive iPads to play games to help ease their anxiety.
“It has made a huge difference with the kids,” said Allmon.
“They are less nervous, so very often less medication is used on
a child before surgery because playing on the iPad is so calming. This
in turn leads to less time in recovery and a quicker discharge for outpatient
Children’s Hospital is continually needing iPads for this program.
If you have an iPad to donate, please contact our Volunteer Services Department