Program helps seniors video chat with doctors
Photo by Tristan Halsen
Members of Telehealth for Seniors bring boxes of devices to a representative of the Snohomish County Community Health Centers at their administrative office in Everett on Tuesday, September 14.
EVERETT – Communicating with your health care provider has become difficult during the pandemic. With so many groups of people affected by this, a group of students set out to put doctors at their fingertips using tablets and smartphones.
Students do this in the form of Telehealth Access for Seniors, which is a nonprofit organization that provides patients with smartphones so they can contact and meet with their doctors via video call.
Three University of Washington students accomplish this by collecting devices, wiping them down, and delivering them to clinics. In mid-September, the Snohomish County Community Health Center – Everett
received a batch of new tablets.
Nhu Nguyen is a senior at UW who started volunteering for the nonprofit in June 2020.
âAs a public health student, I learned about and worried about the systemic health and social inequalities in our country. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, I had a strong urge to somehow get involved in the relief efforts, âNguyen said.
Along with two friends who also frequent UW, Kathy Cui and Sophia Cuschieri, the three dedicated 20 hours each week to coordinate volunteer efforts and act as a liaison between national and state administrative efforts. They were even able to secure a fully funded grant that allowed for the purchase of 68 brand new tablets.
Telehealth Access for Seniors has only 20 members in Washington, but despite this, they managed to receive 262 donated devices, raise $ 13,000 and partner with three community health centers.
The effort provides seniors with these donated devices and includes instruction guides as well as a helpline for questions about using these devices. Guides explain how to set up devices, access Wi-Fi hotspots, download and use telemedicine apps, and more. These guides are available in multiple languages ââand more continue to be added to help their users.
There are plenty of ways to help their cause, including volunteering with Telehealth, donating old and unused devices, or donating money to their GoFundMe. See www.telehealthforseniors.org for how to connect.
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