Image of Technology Creating Engaging Relationships

Technology Creating Engaging Relationships

The Gift of Assisted Technology Butterwick Hospice Care believes strongly in adding quality to the lives of our young patients and we try to offer them as many fun, stimulating and fulfilling experiences as we can. When it comes to technology there are some wonderful pieces of equipment that bring joy and entertainment to patients who have access to this equipment. However, it takes time to research the items that are available and suitable and of course as specialist equipment it all comes with a huge price tag that is very difficult for a charity such as Butterwick House to afford. In today’s world we rely very heavily on the advantages modern technology offers us in so many areas of life. We want to be able to offer our young patients the enjoyment and stimulating interaction that can be gained through using modern computers and interactive programmes. Some of the young people who come to Butterwick House are severely challenged with disabilities caused by their illnesses. We need technology that is inclusive and that offers opportunities for everyone to enjoy. This is where the charity LifeLites comes to the rescue. LifeLites provides technology packages to children’s hospices. Their work and generous donations to Butterwick House has enabled many young people to experience the joy of controlling a computer or other interactive technology. One such young person is 9 year old Megan Farrell from Middlesbrough. Megan is a beautiful little girl with a happy disposition and a ready smile. Megan has been coming to Butterwick House for 3 years now for short breaks so that her mum, dad and sister can take a little time off from their caring responsibilities. Megan needs help to move about and is very restricted in what she can do for herself. Megan often plays with the special assisted technologies at the Hospice that have been provided by LifeLites. She loves the interaction between herself and staff members as they work through special programmes in the computer that stimulate and interest her. These include the stories they read together. The care team member reads the story to Megan talking about the characters on the page. Megan’s task is to turn the pages at the right moment. With a normal book Megan would not be able to manage this. But with the huge soft mouse provided by LifeLites all Megan needs to do to turn the page is tap the mouse anywhere. There are several other programmes too that help Megan to interact in a confidence building and empowering way. Her interaction with the care team through the computer helps to build good therapeutic relationships between her and the care team members. LifeLites have also provided a range of animal characters that talk, sing and dance. These too are operated by the children just by touching a simple pad. They are really entertaining and the children love playing with them. Again a simple touch of a soft pad is all it takes to get these cute characters to dance and sing. Our teenage and young adult patients also get lots of benefit from equipment such as the tablet provided by LifeLites which is so portable and easy to use. Young visitors can relax wherever they like and enjoy listening to music or watch a movie. LifeLites have also installed programmes to help the care team create more interesting materials for the children to take home with them, such as montages of photographs taken on a day out. These help the care team to create happy memories of a child’s stay at the hospice for parents to treasure. Without the support of LifeLites, Butterwick would not be able to provide such stimulating and creative technology packages for our young patients to enjoy. We are really grateful to them for the work they do to raise funds to enable these packages to be provided and for all the research they do into the latest assistive technologies that make such a difference to the quality of the time the children spend at Butterwick House.