Orange Uniting Church: Connecting hospital patients to the outside world

Orange Uniting Church: Connecting hospital patients to the outside world

When Orange Uniting Church became aware of the conditions that COVID-19 patients were facing, they quickly came up with a practical way to support patients at their local hospital, donating two iPads.

The idea came about as people became more aware of the social effects that people were suffering as a part of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Orange has a large regional hospital which, like all hospitals, has visitor restrictions. Patients in the hospital are only allowed one visitor at a time, and COVID-19 patients are not allowed any visitors.

Rev. Andrew Cunningham is Minister of the Word at Orange Uniting Church. He told Insights that the idea first came up when the church’s members saw news reports about COVID-19 patients dying alone as a result of the virus.

“As a church we wondered how we could assist people in maintaining contact with family, friends and professionals,” he recalled.

“I raised the issue with the other churches in town, and then approached the hospital with the suggestion of purchasing tablets for the above reasons, but also said that we were open to offering support in another way if that was more helpful.”

The hospital, as it turned out, was pleased to get the offer, as this could happen quicker than going through their own processes.

 “They were very aware of the effect that social distance was having on patients,” Rev. Cunningham said.

“So far Orange Uniting Church has purchased two Samsung tablets and they have been used to support social workers in connecting with each other, and will be used to help inpatients connect to Centrelink and other services as well as connecting people to family and friends as they await results for COVID-19, or are isolated because of COVID-19.”

With the initiative underway, it looks like more local churches may get involved.

“Since we have donated the tablets, three other churches in town have contributed to the fund and there is now enough to buy a further three if they are required,” Rev. Cunningham said.

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