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02/10/12 iPad2 Donation Benefits Palliative Care Program
Stonewall, Man., February 10, 2012—The palliative care program that services the northeast part of the Interlake region has been given a new tool that will help critically ill patients and their families stay connected with friends and other family members wherever they may be.

The family of the late Tiffany Winko (nee MacIntosh) of Gimli has donated an iPad2 tablet computer to the northeast district palliative care program that services Winnipeg Beach, Gimli, Arborg, Riverton and surrounding areas. Tiffany was in the palliative care program for two years. She passed away in November 2011. The nature of her illness was such that she was in and out of hospital care and required frequent trips to Winnipeg. Tiffany spent her final days in the palliative care room at Gimli’s Johnson Memorial Hospital. It was during this time that Tiffany’s sister, Terri-Lynn Hyatt of Calgary, found the iPad to be invaluable.

“For us, it was such a blessing to have there. It brought so much comfort and kept us in touch with the rest of the family,” Terri-Lynn said. “Our family is spread out all over Canada. It wasn’t possible for all of us to come and be there. When she was actually passing we were able to use our iPads to keep in contact with all of the family to give updates. They all sent us letters to read to her so they could say their goodbyes because they couldn’t be there.”
 
Terri-Lynn, her brother Jeremy MacIntosh and mother Debbie MacIntosh used the iPad2 to share e-mails, photos and music with Tiffany. This type of computer, called a tablet is one of the best ways to experience audio and visual media like online books, newspapers, movies, music, games and web content. The support of family, brought closer through this technology, helped make a hard time a little more comforting.
 
“Not only did they send messages to her, they sent messages to us,” Terri-Lynn said.
 
Sarah Pinsent, coordinator of the area’s palliative care program, helped Tiffany and her family while they used the palliative care program. She witnessed, first-hand, the value of the iPad.
 
“Often patients and families feel isolated and cut off from supports and comforts of home and community that they still wish to be a part of,” Sarah said. “Now they’ll get that chance to stay connected. Skype, Facebook and email let users stay in touch with loved ones face-to-face. The donation of the iPad2 is unique and generous. We are incredibly grateful to be able to offer this comfort to other families.”
 
Tiffany’s mother said she knows her daughter would have approved of the donation wholeheartedly.
 
“The palliative care unit was near and dear to her heart. She wanted to try and brainstorm to help the palliative care team. It [the iPad donation] wasn’t just for us, it was for her,” Debbie said. “Of course she would have been happiest to be home with her children but she was very happy at the Gimli hospital and we were very fortunate to have her there.”
 
Terri-Lynn said the iPad2 donation from Tiffany’s entire family-siblings, mother, grandparents, brother-in-law, aunts and uncles-was something they knew would greatly benefit the community-supported palliative care program.
 
“We know palliative care is funded by donations and there isn’t much flexibility for donations like in larger centres,” Terri-Lynn said. “People don’t think about palliative care until they have a family member in there. There is a lot of need there, this is one in particular that we thought we could donate because we used it and it was possibly something that other people wouldn’t think of.”
 
The family’s donation has already led to further offers of support. MTS has committed to providing internet access for the iPad for a two year term.
 
“The MacIntosh family’s donation of an iPad to the northeast district palliative care program is a thoughtful and inspiring gesture,” said MTS President Kelvin Shepherd. “MTS is pleased to provide the opportunity for other families involved in this important program to stay connected with one another.”
 
Tiffany’s family has also made a financial contribution to the northeast palliative care program. This donation will be invested in items that will provide additional comfort to families using the program. Sarah Pinsent is working to make the iPad2 available to families in the northeast palliative care program as soon as possible. 
 
For more information:
Lauralou Cicierski, Manager of Public Relations, Interlake RHA, 204.467.4747, lcicierski@irha.mb.ca
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