Support group donates Smart TVs to children’s Covid assessment ward

A support group for the parents of children with chronic health problems has donated a number of Smart TVs to the children’s Covid-19 assessment ward in Altnagelvin Hospital.

Cathy Grady, play specialist, and Sr Michelle Bryson with the donation of Smart TVs for the paediatric assessment unit on Ward 5.
Cathy Grady, play specialist, and Sr Michelle Bryson with the donation of Smart TVs for the paediatric assessment unit on Ward 5.

Altnagelvin Parents’ Support Group have donated ten TVs on portable stands, which will allow children admitted to the assessment unit to access TV channels, Netflix and YouTube during their admission.

The group had previously provided over 20 similar TVs to the Children’s Ward in Altnagelvin.

The separate assessment unit was established in the hospital during the global pandemic and children will stay there while they await the outcome of a Covid-19 test.

Chairperson of the parents’ group, Lisa Storey, said that members wanted to provide something for the children on this ward to ensure their stay is as comfortable as possible for them and their parents.

“It isn’t a children’s ward and there is nothing in the rooms for the children,” Lisa said. “Of course with the pandemic, decisions had to be made very quickly in the hospital to keep everyone safe, but it isn’t as bright or child friendly as the main children’s ward. We wanted to provide something for these children during their stay on the assessment ward and these TVs will help entertain them and give their parents a bit of respite.”

Since the parents’ group was established in March 2018, it has fundraised for specialist beds for parents to sleep in next to their child, and provided artwork and the Smart TVs for the ward.

In the coming months, the group will also be donating a safespace bed which can be used for children with autism, epilepsy or profound learning difficulties, during their stay in hospital.

Lisa said the aim of the group is to make hospital stays easier.

“The beds and the TVs are making such a difference to children who have been admitted to hospital and their parents,” Lisa said. “I love hearing from our frequent fliers, the people who are regularly in and out of hospital, about how much easier they make life.”

The group had hoped to hold a celebration event for all those who donated towards the TVs, however the Covid pandemic has put these plans on hold. Lisa added: “We know it has been such a difficult year for everyone and we would like to say thank you to everyone who has donated. We hope that as things get back to normal people will continue to support the work we are doing.”