CHICAGO (WLS) -- A group of volunteers across the nation are working to equip hospitals and senior care facilities with smart devices to connect COVID patients with their loved ones in Chicago and across the country.
With visitor restrictions at hospitals in place due to COVID-19, some facilities are connecting intensive care patients with their families, safely, through technology.
"You put yourself in their position and you definitely sympathize with them. So when we got the tablet, it made things so much better," said Demetris Jantuah, an ICU nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago's Southwest Side.
Holy Cross Hospital has about 15 tablets where intensive care patients can video chat with their loved ones.
COVID Tech Connect, a non-profit that aims to connect families with relatives in intensive care and long-term care facilities, provided the smart devices to Holy Cross and several other hospitals and care facilities in Chicago.
"It was important for us that we can make sure that as many hospitals, as many nursing homes, especially ones that have been underserved and overlooked, all had access to the devices that they needed so families can connect to their loved ones," said Katie Stanton, Co-Founder of COVID Tech Connect.
Stanton said it all started in March when the fear of losing her father due to COVID-19 and not being able to say goodbye seeped in, as visiting restrictions became strict. She said her father was in a senior care facility and had no way of seeing her family. She said COVID Tech Connect aims to give families a chance to say goodbye.
"I was lucky enough to find these other women who also had this great idea and we joined forces to distribute devices around the country," said Stanton.
The group of women then started a GoFundMe that raised over $200,000 to provide smart devices for free. So far, over 11,000 devices have been distributed to over 1,000 hospitals nationwide. In total, the non-profit raised about four million dollars with the help of a donation from Google.org, an anonymous donor, and thousands of individuals.
"It just shows us that ordinary people together can do extraordinary things to help one another," said Stanton.
COVID Tech Connect still have smart devices available for use. You can visit their website here to request smart devices.
COVID Tech Connect offering free smart devices to families to connect with COVID patients
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