Linda Nusdorfer, centre, stands by the bedside of Michelle Babineau at Toronto General Hospital; Lucas Oleniuk Toronto Star
On Christmas eve, Megan Ogilvie wrote in the Star about Michelle Babineau, who has been in Toronto General for seven months, recovering from a double-lung and heart transplant at the age of 36. Her family is 1500 miles away on the east coast and can't afford to visit.
Nurse specialist Linda Nusdorfer wondered why families couldn't visit virtually, and last Christmas set up web cams for a young mother who couldn't be with her three children, all under the age of 4, over the holidays. "There were her children, on the screen, engaging with mum, talking, dancing, asking questions," she says. Since then eight families have tried this, in one of the few hospitals equipped with internet access. (wifi is not allowed). The hospital can't supply common machines for fear of infection, so it is up to the patients' families to supply equipment and many are not familiar with the the technologies. But for those who have access to the technology, Nusdorfer says virtual visits bring patients a lot of joy: "They just light up. They light up ... It's what inspires them to get home quicker." ::The Star
Mike McGregor of Logitech Canada read that article and did something about it.
He decided to donate the web cams – whatever number Nusdorfer needs. According to the Star in an update:
"He knows first-hand that it can be difficult, whether because of distance, bad weather or work schedule, to reach the bedside of a loved one in hospital.
And if you can't meet in person, he says, then chatting via a web cam is the next best thing.
"To have that face-to-face communications is invaluable," he says. "To see that person's expressions and their love for the other person, rather than just trying to express it over the phone." ::The Star
This is where advances in technology become so transformational. You don't have to fly from New Brunswick to Toronto every week to stay in touch; you can do it daily or hourly through electronics. You don't have to spend a lot of money and have a huge footprint; the cheapest computers and cameras do it. These are the kinds of technologies that will continue to become more energy efficient, less expensive and more effective for all of us.