PATIENTS who have become unfortunate victims of isolation due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak have been given a lifeline to stay in contact with their relatives, thanks to the incredible generosity of hospital staff.

Nurses, doctors and other members of the Acute Stroke Unit team at Fairfield General Hospital have fundraised to provide iPads for patients and relatives to Facetime one another during the lockdown.

Family and friends are no longer able to visit patients at the hospital, in order to prevent spread of the Covid-19 infection, denying both a vital means of interaction.

Many of the stroke unit’s patients are also elderly or very ill and so until now had no access to the kind of technology that could enable them to make video calls.

Elizabeth Sandham, a sister on the Acute Stroke Unit at Fairfield Hospital, and one of the team behind the fundraising effort, said: “It is very isolating for these patients because now there is no visiting whatsoever.

“Even when visiting was reduced to one hour it was hard. But now they are completely cut off. We have had relatives crying because it is agony for them.

“A lot of our patients have had massive strokes and are really quite poorly. A lot don’t understand and, because some are cognitively impaired, they think they have been abandoned.

“So there’s a need to see faces to give them the contact that a phone call can’t.

“We also have a lot of relatives who will stay the whole day. They like to know all about their relatives. So we thought “What can we do to keep them in touch”.

In order to fund the iPads, an appeal was shared around the hospital and beyond via a Just Giving page ­— which has seen donations reach more than double its original target.

So far the appeal has managed to raise enough for five iPads. Two of which will go to wards 20 and 21, two to the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit, and another to the Acute Stroke Unit.

Another fundraising effort is also underway, led by nurse Leona Harris, for iPads for the Isolation Wards, treating people affected by the Covid-19 infection.

Ms Sandham added: “At the moment we are trying to keep life as normal as possible for the patients on our ward. But their families are not there to keep up their spirits, so until this is over we are their family if you like.

“We are now hoping to try and get an iPad for every single ward in the hospital if we can.”

To donate to the appeal visit