DigiWards – The first digitally enabled hospital wards in the country(?)

One of the advantages of being a freelancer is you often get to work with some very special people. For a long time now I have wanted to work with Victoria Betton whose work I have admired for a number of years. Victoria inhabits that land between the big health services and the outside world, with an uncanny ability to communicate with both, and to make things happen by bringing insiders and outsiders together.

Yesterday we had the kickoff meeting for a project we are calling DigiWards. We’ve been fortunate enough to secure some funding via the Tinder Foundation from the NHS Widening Digital Participation Fund. Using this funding, we intend to “digitise” 4 wards at the Mount Hospital, in Leeds. The Mount provides in-patient services to older people with mental health problems and dementia.

As part of the project, free wifi is being installed into the wards (a cause close to my heart), and tablet devices will be made available for use by patients and carers.

My role in the project is to provide training and support to cohorts of Digital Champions from within the hospital’s clinical staff and volunteers. I will further be involved in supporting the digital champions to deliver a range of digital engagement activities with patients and carers including digital tea parties, digital drop-in sessions, digital carers’ sessions, and digital walks (real-time walks, live streamed to patients on the ward).

This is a great opportunity both to work with some lovely people, and to implement some of the ideas I have been working on for a while in a new context. We are pretty confident that these will be the first fully digitally-enabled older people’s inpatient wards in the country (let me know if you know otherwise). I can’t wait to get started, and I will, of course, post updates here.

6 thoughts on “DigiWards – The first digitally enabled hospital wards in the country(?)

  1. bloody brilliant! at last, some funding goes to a good cause instead of being wasted. Good luck John, and keep us posted. Wowsers. It means they can see and talk to their families all the time, it should really help them. Well done.

  2. Fantastic. I’ll follow your lead. There are a few things I can get moving and you have inpired me to set some of those things in motion today. Well done John and V.

    • Do we have competition to get this done first, Kate? Of course if you have any resources I’d love to help you out too 🙂

  3. It will be interesting to see what people access when left to their own devices. (Sorry!) Especially as the level of digital experience grows, which could of course be tempered by a downturn in their mental health and cognitive capabilities. Potentially some fascinating usage data to be built up here to help others in the health industry. Good luck, John, great project.

  4. Pingback: Hospital Wifi a Work in Progress | John Popham's Random Musings

  5. Pingback: A Manifesto for Social Tech in later life | John Popham's Random Musings

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