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Andy's iPads

Andy's iPads

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 procedures.”

Children’s Hospital is continually needing iPads for this program. If you have an iPad to donate, please contact our Volunteer Services Department at 865-541-8136.