A mortal dilemma….

Sometimes Community Solutions (ComSol) projects are so good we have to be careful we don’t get in trouble because of their sensitivities… Take our work wrapping up in an Israeli hospice center as an example. The project developed from personal experience of our colleague there who spent long days and nights alongside her terminally-ill relative in hospice care….

In ComSol we build strong relationships with community leaders around the world and through those relationships we work with those leaders to create stronger community through technology solutions designed to address a specific community problem. In this case, the problem was finding a way to increase quality of life for surviving relatives of hospice patients.

Hospice centers certainly make the process of dying more dignifying, but caring for a loved one still can be a long, emotion-filled, demanding process for everyone. Even minor nuisances can become major stressors. My colleague often sat by her sleeping or heavily sedated relative’s bed waiting – with little to do and no real instant communication between her and her other relatives. She said she would have benefited from having something to take her mind off the situation as she sat “during the long weeks not knowing whether it would be weeks or months….” Then an idea came to her: A wireless network in the hospice center sure would make it easier to stay in touch with the family during these moments and also provide a welcome distraction from the somber nature of this situation, she thought. She could work, surf the Internet and quietly communicate with her relatives. This year, her idea became a reality thanks to her leadership, a leading Israel telecom company called 012 golden line and Tel Hashomer Hospice. Together they installed a free WiFi network for family members of Tel Hashomer patients to use.

Some project participants saw the installation as having goodness written all over it and prepared to promote it in the local media. But wiser heads prevailed. They thought “how do you promote this good deed without being perceived as taking advantage of dying people?” In the end we decided to quietly promote it via the hospice’s website only. After all, Intel’s good deed is what matters: now, sons and daughters and mothers and fathers caring for their departing loved ones can stay in touch thanks to Intel Community Solutions. The results are what counts. This was a good project that could have been marred by bad publicity. I’m glad our folks in Israel were alert to the sensitivity.

It’s nice to work with professionals. See the hospice website for mention of Intel’s donation. Fair warning: it’s in Hebrew.

2 Responses to A mortal dilemma….

  1. Martha says:

    One wonderful benefit of hospice care is the support of the friends and family in addition to the services for the terminally-ill. This is a wonderful application of how the “cold” technology we work with every day “warms-up” when touched by people. Thanks for sharing the story with us! My family experienced something similar with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, their care pages allow families to securely post updates so they don’t have to repeat the update individually to every single family memeber separately (we have a big extended family ;-) . We were so far away but were able to keep track of progress and send well wishes.
    http://www.carepages.com/chop

  2. Perry Gruber says:

    Thanks for your comments Martha and for sharing your own personal story. I’m sure my colleague will find it interesting so I’m going to forward your comments to her.