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2/17/2010
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Hospital Gives Kids Bedside Web Access

Touchscreen bedside units replace traditional hospital TVs and give pediatric patients Internet access, and a new way to communicate with hospital staff.

When kids are hospitalized, it's sometimes a scary experience, and a lonely one. The Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., is trying to make kids and their families more comfortable by keeping them entertained, educated, and wired to their friends.

The 200-bed children's hospital is rolling out GetWell Town, which provides bedside TVs that offer interactive patient communication, entertainment, and educational services -- as well as access to the Internet. GetWell Town is a pediatric version of the interactive entertainment and educational services also offered by GetWellNetwork to hospitals across the U.S. for adult patients.

Alfred I. duPont is replacing its former hospital TVs with the new GetWell Town bedside, flat screen, touchscreen units, which sit on a swing arm and have wired keyboards. The touchscreen and keyboards are sealed with protective coverings so that they can be safely wiped down with disinfectant wipes, said Mark Lorenz, associate administrator of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.

Patients may use the units for watching regular TV programming, for gaming, and to access educational videos related to their health issues.

The GetWell unit can also be used to communicate with hospital staff. Service requests, such to adjustments to a patient's room temperature, can be relayed via the units.

The GetWell system also provides patients and their parents with Internet access. The units, which include a CPU, are "pre-loaded" for quick access to sites such as AOL, and allow kids to access their own favorite sites, said Lorenz.

Patients can use GetWell Town to go on sites like Facebook, check e-mail and instant messaging, download music -- all activities that can help the kids feel connected to their friends and the outside world whether the patients are staying at the hospital for several days, or several hours.

The hospital is rolling out the GetWell Town units for a variety of outpatient services such as dialysis and cancer treatment, and also in the emergency department, said Lorenz.

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