Emory University student collecting used smart devices to connect seniors with telehealth

An Emory University student is taking action to help patients with serious medical conditions during this pandemic. If you have an old cellphone or tablet, she needs your help.

"There's so many people suffering through chronic illnesses and they have to be at home," Telehealth Access for Seniors' Georgia State Lead Leanna Jeong explained. "They cannot leave."

As coronavirus cases continue to surge, medical professionals said one of the hardships has been the transition to telemedicine.

One problem is that some seniors don't have a smart device or know how to use one.

"Each device comes with a tech support manual and a resource guide," Jeong explained.

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Telehealth Access for Seniors, a nationwide organization started during the pandemic, said older patients tend to be more vulnerable - especially those with chronic health conditions.

By giving them access to appointments and check-ups from home, the organization believes patients will be protected from possible complications and unnecessary hospitalizations.

"I, personally, have a family friend who has been battling cancer for like two years. She has to be in constant contact with her oncologist and it's hard during this COVID pandemic to go to a medical facility," Jeong mentioned.

She said the organization is also trying to get the front camera-enabled devices into low-income communities.

Volunteers are working with free clinics and veterans hospitals to find patients in need of the used devices.

"Also to connect with family and friends for stress relief or just talk about your situation, relieve anxiety has been very beneficial," Jeong, a rising junior at Emory, said.

The organization is fundraising in case they don't collect enough devices.

She hopes to get them into the hands of people by the end of summer.

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