Banbury hospice provides service that connects patients with loved ones this Christmas
The Katharine House Hospice is among the first in the country to join up with arts organisation Trigger to provide patients with the WithYou digital service, which will allow isolated patients to communicate with family and friends.
The WithYou service, created by Trigger, aims to make it easier for friends and family to record and share voice messages and create playlists from anywhere in the world for critically ill patients in hospitals, hospices, and care homes.
Srinder Singh, bereavement care and voluntary services lead for Katharine House, said: “It’s wonderful to be able to offer the WithYou service to our patients and their families. It is always difficult for patients when they can’t be with their family and friends, but Christmas is a particularly hard time.
“WithYou will help families keep in touch and let our patients know they are loved and that people are thinking of them. Being able to hear messages from loved ones will make such a difference to their wellbeing.”
Volunteers at the hospice will be checking the app regularly on specially sourced iPads and will share the messages and playlists with patients, they will also help the patients access the app and allow them to play music for as long as they wish.
Angie Bual, creative director of WithYou and artist-director of Trigger, said: “I came up with the idea after an old friend of mine was in ICU with covid. He was mechanically ventilated and unable to have visitors. His friends and family were trying to pull together voice messages from his social network and put them onto one mp3 file to send to the hospital.
“They found the whole procedure very challenging, and it made me realise that there are so many people who are in hospital or in care homes, unable to use devices due to their condition, and all you want at a time like that is to be able to send them a message and make sure they have company. If you’re having a very difficult time in hospital, then it makes a real difference to be able to hear your loved ones’ voices.”