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Arustamyan and Beth Belanger, both 12, have had longer hospital
stays than most Childrens patients. Both are on the Stem Cell
and Hematopoietic Transplant unit, where patients often stay for
six weeks or longer and cant leave the unit, which is environmentally
controlled to prevent infection.
But now, thanks to a project that gives patients access to the
Internet right in their rooms, Beth, Armen and other patients and
families on 6 West can be in better touch with friends and family,
stay more connected to schoolwork, and enjoy computer games and
With in-room Internet, Armen has used the Web to play games and
send instant messages to his brother. And though he cant leave
the unit to go to the library, Armen says its easy to find
help with his homework: I just go to Google.com.
Beth uses her connection to keep in touch by e-mail with her brothers,
who live in Georgia. She enjoys her favorite Web sitesDisneys
Zoog.com and Nickelodeons
her family posts photos and updates to Beths Web page, where
friends and family can check in and also post messages for Beth.
with TLContact to provide similar Web service to all patient
This contact has also been great for the family, says
Beths mom, Cathy Belanger. Cathy did her Christmas shopping
from Beths room and took care of the familys banking
online, and her husband used the connection to stay in touch with
work. When you spend six weeks in the hospital, you get creative
with what you do on the Web, Cathy says.
The Web access patients on 6 West now enjoy is part of a pilot
project jointly created by the Information Services Department and
Patient Care Services. If the project proves successful, it may
serve as a model for other inpatient areas.
Although plugging into the net may seem simple enough, Matt
Horman, director of Research, Clinical and Administrative
Services, says ISD had to overcome serious security risks with the
project. In order to avoid compromising the integrity of Childrens
computer systems, the department re-engineered the network infrastructure,
separating patient Web access from the hospitals internal
information systems, says Horman.
Web filtering software is also being installed to manage some of
the content patients may access, and the hard drives on the patient
computers are easily removed, so if a patient downloads a virus
or crashes the computer, swapping the used drive for a clean one
is as easy as changing the sheets on a bed.
With its lengthy patient stays and addition of network connections
and computers to the rooms, 6 West was the best place to launch
the Internet access pilot, says Patti
Branowicki, MS, RN, vice president of Medicine Patient Services.
The pilot has been popular with patients and families, according
to Anita Trombley, CCLS, the Child
Life specialist on the unit. Internet access is one of the
first things that many families ask about. They come here from all
over the world, and now its so much easier for them to keep
in touch with friends and family.CM
TLC in the modern age
at Children's Hospital Boston