A group of doctors and nurses at Massachusetts General Hospital is asking the public to donate cell phone chargers for COVID-19 patients to stay connected with loved ones while the hospital is closed to visitors.
Physician's Assistant Emily Swanson works in the hospital Medicine Unit. Swanson is also on the Happiness Committee, which consists of MGH providers including doctors, PA’s and nurses looking for ways to improve the quality of life for everyone at the hospital.
Swanson says they’re trying to help the patients, who arrived at the hospital without chargers for their cellphones, maintain an electronic lifeline.
When their phone batteries run out, “They don't have their friends and their family visiting them and it just very isolating and lonely for these patients and their loved ones alike who are at home wanting to talk to them,” Swanson said. "We went into rooms and asked them how long has your cell phone not been working,” Swanson said, “and for some of them it had been days.”
Swanson says before COVID-19, the Happiness Committee group was working on issues like “workplace wellness” for providers, organizing lunches for coworkers and sending care packages to new parents within the group. Now, with COVID-19, the committee is focusing on arranging meals for providers and long-term housing.
But last week the committee came up with the idea to ask for cell phone charger donations.
Within a week, they’ve collected 150 chargers and USB wall adapters and are looking for more. The committee needs USB “C” chargers for Android phones. Donations can be mailed in or dropped off at the hospital.
Swanson says to be able to offer patients a charger while hospitalized, "gives them access to their family, to the news, to the outside world, to their music all these things we take for granted every day, but have such a large impact on quality of life.”
If you would like to help this effort, mail a phone charger to help this effort, send it to: MGH Medicine Unit Office, Happiness Committee Cell Phone Charger Project, 55 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02115.