LAKE MARY, Fla. – A pair of Central Florida siblings are doing their part to help the elderly stay safe while connecting with their healthcare providers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hannah and Arjun Verma said they want to make sure seniors have access to devices that can connect them to telemedicine.
They said they got the idea after talking to their parents, who work in the healthcare industry.
“They were telling us about how a lot of the hospital systems in Orlando are transitioning to telehealth very quickly,” Hannah Verma said. “But because Florida has so many elderly and low income patients, the main issue is that these high risk patients, who ironically are at the highest risk for coronavirus, don’t have devices to attend the appointments.”
Hannah, a junior at Yale University, and Arjun, a sophomore at Lake Highland Prep, said they started asking their friends and family for their old devices.
“We noticed that many people, including us, had devices that were unused or not being used currently, so the logical solution was to connect the seniors with these devices,” Arjun Verma said.
The siblings started the nonprofit “Telehealth Access for Seniors, Inc.” in March. They said so far they have collected 1800 devices from all over the country.
They’ve recruited more than 300 other student-volunteers from 26 states. The volunteers are partnering with veterans hospitals and clinics in their area. Hannah Vema said the healthcare providers determine who needs the devices for telemedicine appointments.
“Some visits you can do over a phone call, but having that video component makes it a lot easier for the doctor,” she said.
So far, the nonprofit has donated 175 devices in the Central Florida area, including to a clinic in Lake Mary. Arjun Verma said they make sure each device is prepped and ready for the patients.
“We sanitize it, reset it, charge it, all that stuff. We also accompany it with a couple of guides to explain to the patient how to use the device, how to set up FaceTime, how to set up the required app they need, and then we deliver it to the practices,” he said.
The siblings are this week’s News 6 Getting Results Award winners for helping those most at risk get the medical care they need while staying safe.
“It’s really important that they have these checkups because you don’t want it to escalate into something worse. We’re really trying to keep people out of hospitals right now if we can prevent it,” Hannah Verma said. “I think giving people access to reliable care is one of the ways we can prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and help people stay safe.”
The nonprofit is accepting any working smart device as well as financial donations. Click here for information on how you can donate.