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55 new iPads are helping to bring families and friends closer together in the face of restricted visiting arrangements at NHS Fife.

Resilience measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus mean that visiting is suspended at all hospital sites across Fife, with a small number of exceptions.

The new iPads are available at all hospital sites in Fife and allow patients to stay connected with loved ones throughout their stay using video calling software. They will be funded by the Fife Health Board Endowment Fund, a registered charity which recently received a £500,000 donation from an anonymous benefactor.

Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant, Helen Skinner, was the driving force behind the iPads. She said:

"Initially I wanted to purchase iPads for older patients in hospital with dementia as I was concerned about the impact the restrictions on access would have on them. Being in a strange place, with strange noises, smells, people and routines can potentially be very distressing for people with dementia and not being able to have relatives visit can compound this. However, when I thought about it I wanted to do something that would help all hospital patients and alleviate some of the stress that the suspension of visiting brings in general.

"The iPads give patients a way to stay in touch and mean we can connect people in hospital with their loved ones at home. Not only can they hear each other, but they can see each other too - and that is so important. Hopefully these iPads will provide reassurance, comfort, and a little bit of happiness for both patients and relatives or friends at what is a difficult time.

"Special thanks must go to our e-health team who have turned this around so quickly – as I know they are also doing with other projects. These iPads have to be specifically configured for use in our hospitals and their tireless work has been crucial in setting this up so quickly."