Mobile phone donations enable hospital patients to contact families

Travel Editor, Amy Harris, tells of the donations of mobile phones and tablets that are helping so many reach their loved ones in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amy Harris
16th April 2020
Image: Coyot, Pixabay
COVID-19 has brought devastation and sadness to all around the world. But even with all the anxiety, stress and sadness that is affecting us all today, there are still positive and wonderful things happening around the world. The second day of our positive news centres on hospital patients being able to speak to their families.

Our NHS frontline staff up and down the country are the ones feeling the distressing results of this pandemic the most. But thanks to people wanting to encourage and support NHS staff while they battle at the frontlines there are wonderful campaigns taking place. These range from #ClapForOurCarers at 8pm every Thursday, to discounts and freebies for NHS staff. While people support the NHS as best as they can, the world seems a little brighter.

Now people are donating mobile phones and tablets to patients in hospitals and to residents in care homes so that they can speak to their families. This is so important because it is family that they potentially might not see again.

Due to COVID-19, health boards and the local authorities have put very restrictive visiting policies in place, such as visitor bans. Therefore, patients in hospitals and residents of care homes are unable to see family members.

As a result, Sara Platt, from Llanharan in the South of Wales, created a group on Facebook, the NHS Kindness Wishlist, which enables the donation of items to NHS patients, wards and staff. Due to the circumstances surrounding visitor bans, Ms Platt claimed that she had received high demand and emergency requests for devices such as tablets and mobile phones.

Originally the donations included items such as tea, coffee, sweets and biscuits, but then as conditions worsened due to the coronavirus, requests went to toothbrushes, hand sanitiser, toothpaste, phones and tablets.

The Facebook group gained more than 16,000 members in less than two weeks and has now raised nearly £30,000 worth of items, including a lot of mobile phones and tablets for health facilities and wards across Wales. Now they are helping and delivering donations to all hospitals in Wales. Ms. Platt said:

“It’s just grown and grown and now we help all hospitals in Wales”.

Other than devices to contact families the group was also the hub for hundreds of Easter Eggs to be delivered to both young and old patients so that they were able to celebrate the spring holiday also.

Due to the consequences of COVID-19 patients, both those who are ill with the virus and those who aren’t, are unable to speak to their families. This means that they are passing away without getting the chance to speak to their families and say goodbye. As a result, these donations of mobile phones and tablets allows people to speak to their families before its too late.

Ms Platt said that after putting up a request for tablets and phones for two nurses who wanted the devices for their patients, they received “five tablets and five phones” the very next day.

While people send in phones, tablets and other donations Ms. Platt is also promoting the Amazon “wish lists” NHS ward staff have created for particular items.  This enables people to click on items from the wishlist and sending them to the specific hospitals.

Ms. Platt said she had the inspiration to create the Facebook group after her own son, one-year-old Kohan, was rushed to hospital with suspected Coronavirus. He was put on a COVID-19 isolation ward, despite thankfully not having the virus and being able to return home.

Due to the growth of the Facebook group and the number of donations that are coming in from all-around Wales Ms. Platt’s sister Hayley is helping out. Now the sisters run the Facebook group and donations operation together.

To get involved, simply join the Facebook group and look out for notifications and requests. It can be as simple as donating an item such as an old phone or tablet you no longer use, or you can click on an item on the Amazon Wishlist and purchase it. The smallest acts of kindness go a long way.

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