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Special projects

Special projects at The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House

From time to time the Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House runs projects to trial new methods and approaches, with a view to achieving the best possible care for our patients. Where significant benefits are derived from project work, we share our experience with the wider palliative care community, and, where appropriate, we seek to contribute to the evolving definition of best practice.

One such initiative which is currently in development at the Hospice is the 'Living-IT' project.

The Living-IT project

The Living-IT project seeks to extend the holistic approach to patient care, which is a hallmark of the hospice movement, to the everyday use of IT and mobile computing, including smartphones and tablets. Using these devices has become a part of normal living for most of the population, and as we seek to enable our patients to live the life remaining to them as fully as possible, we feel that this is an aspect of life which should be included in the scope of our care.

How the project helps patients

The project involves:

  • Helping patients to continue to use IT devices in spite of the increasing disabilities associated with their condition, by enabling them to try specialised PC peripherals and input devices and also alternative devices such as tablets, and advising and encouraging them in their use
  • Providing a suitable environment for patients to use personal mobile devices at the main Hospice building, including the availability of free high-speed wireless broadband which is capable of streaming high-definition content
  • Helping patients to perform tasks which they need or wish to do and in which IT use will help, including keeping in touch with friends and relatives, writing life stories, producing art, reading books and magazines, and communicating via electronically generated speech.
This latter category includes helping patients whose ability to speak is limited or absent to communicate via specialised iPad speech apps.
iPads are available for loan to patients to enable them to become familiar with them before deciding whether this solution is right for them.
We also support patients who are learning to use other electronic communication aids, and liaise closely with Speech and Language Therapists assigned to the patients where appropriate.

iPad displaying AAC speech app  

iPad displaying AAC app
Project funding

In May of 2012, the Norfolk Community Foundation in collaboration with the Funding Network in London put on a 'Dragons Den' style event in Norwich, where the audience was made up of donors and local philanthropists. Our presentation on the project was well received, and the resulting donations from these generous local people have enabled the project to proceed, and many patients to benefit from it. A report on our successful bid for funding is available from the website of the Eastern Daily Press.
The Funding Network and the Norfolk Community Foundation are both remarkable organisations, and we are very grateful to them for their help.

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