What the tizzy was all about

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

Emily has worked wonders with her iPad

We’ve been in kind of a tizzy lately here at HPCCR.  And you may know why.  In fact, you may be very in tune with our organization because you follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  (Ahem.  That’s a hint, people.)  If so, you are probably aware of what happened last week that got us all nervous and excited.   

For those of you in the dark (hey, it’s your own fault — follow us on Twitter and Facebook and join us in the light), let me explain.  We have a social worker here at Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, Emily Kennedy, who took it upon herself several years ago to buy an iPad.  She started using the device with her dementia patients and saw some startling and impressive results.  Individuals who were typically unresponsive during Emily’s visits suddenly started showing interest when she pulled out her iPad. 

Since Emily knew about their lives and backgrounds, she was able to download applications that enticed their interest.  For a woman who had honeymooned in Hawaii, Emily used an application that had a live camera on one of the island’s beaches.  For a man interested in birds, she was able to bring up an application that not only showed birds, but played their beautiful songs too.  These patients, who had previously been confined by the four walls of their rooms, were instantly brought outdoors.  To experience nature.  And beauty.  It was a mental awakening in patients who had perhaps been written off as “gone”.  For the families of the patients, it was a godsend. 

But it’s not enough for me to just tell you how it happens.  You need to see it yourself.  That’s why we created a video with Emily and one of her patients and we posted it on YouTube.  You’ll see the interaction, you’ll see him come alive.  And you’ll hear the gratitude in the voice of the man’s daughter, Chris, who told us that she knew her dad was still in there.  Oh, and you’ll get teary-eyed.  I dare you not to.

It’s a pretty amazing concept, huh?  But it gets better.  One of our local TV stations, WSOC, decided to pick up the story.  Erica Bryant (who is just beautiful) came to our office to interview both Emily Kennedy and Chris, the daughter of the man in the video.  And that’s where the tizzy part came in. 

We decided that our grief room, where the interview was to take place, needed some major sprucing.  (Seriously, Design on a Dime could have come and filmed the before and after.  We were proud.)  We developed talking points.  We discussed wardrobe options.  We prepared like it was Oprah Winfrey coming to do the interview.  And, after all the stress and anxiety, it went really well.  But you’ll need to see that for yourself too.  It’s on WSOC’s website.  But you may conveniently access it by clicking here.

We’re hoping that this story will compel folks to help us reach our goal of providing iPads to all HPCCR social workers.  Right now, we’ve got just the one.  And that’s the iPad that Emily bought with her own money.  Can you just imagine the difference we can make with dementia patients if they all had access to the outside world through this amazing technology?  Can’t you just picture the awe on the faces of family members when they see their loved one respond for the first time?  You saw Chris’ face, right?  It’s hard not to be moved after seeing her reaction. 

So we created a donation page and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that there are people out there (like you) who want to help us succeed.  Whether through donations, word of mouth, or following us in our various forms of social media (still a hint!), we’ll take all we can get.  Because it’s the patients who will really benefit from this technology.  And the people who love them.  The people who won’t count out their mothers, fathers, grandparents, spouses, aunts, or uncles — the ones who are still there.

Every once in a while, an old-fashioned tizzy is a really good thing.  It’s fun to get worked up over something exciting.  But you know what’s even more fun?  Being able to join us in the excitement as it happens.  That’s why you need to get socially connected with us.  Because you know what the flip side of a tizzy is?  It’s a tantrum. Let’s avoid that, shall we?

The YouTube video:

Explore posts in the same categories: advocacy, awareness, dementia, education, Facebook, hospice, social networking, Twitter

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4 Comments on “What the tizzy was all about”

  1. Great job Andrea, as usual! This pretty much captures the wonderful tizzy (yes tizzies can be wonderful) from last week!
    This story is such a beautiful illustration of our “Specialized Care for the Person Living with Dementia” program!

  2. Marilyn Petersmark Says:

    What a wonderful story!! It is amazing what this device can do and how it can help. I have already donated to the program and will donate more when I can. HPCCR does a great job keeping people informed and helping those in need. Andrea, you do a wonderful job with writing such touching stories. Keep up the great work!

  3. […] July, we had a heartbreaking and wonderful staff meeting that left us emotionally spent and proud to work for this top-notch […]

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