Latest News

MBA Alumni launch campaign to digitally connect COVID-19 patients

  • Date: Wed, Apr 8, 2020

Share this article

“The stories of COVID-19 patients critically ill or passing away without their families being able to provide comfort or say goodbye are truly heart breaking,” said Ciara Close, Director at Umbrella Foundation.

Ciara, along with fellow UCD Smurfit School MBA alumni Suzanne Stewart and Emma Farrell are kicking off a campaign to help families through these challenging times by funding or sourcing 100 digital tablets to donate to the COVID-19 hospitals and nursing homes around Ireland.

“Technology is allowing for unprecedented levels of remote communication to help society and businesses continue to operate. We want to bring that technology to critical patients so that families can see and hear each other in an environment which may seem scary; or provide connection and assurance which will allow them to be together at the end,” continued Ciara.

“The majority of the patients hospitalised are older, and many may not have access to a smartphone. In addition, patients who are in a critical condition will not have the energy to hold up a phone. Tablets allow for bigger pictures and easier positioning for patients.”

Ciara, Suzanne and Emma met while studying for the UCD Smurfit MBA in 2019. Ciara is an electronic engineer, Suzanne is a veterinarian and medical devices specialist and Emma is an entrepreneur. After reading reports from around the globe of the devastating impact of COVID-19, they decided to take action to do their part.

While the trio has friends and family working across medical professions, Suzanne also has first-hand experience of having COVID-19 and of seeing a loved one hospitalised.

Suzanne’s partner, an ICU doctor, was admitted to hospital for COVID-19. It was an experience that highlighted the emotional distress of saying goodbye to someone and the uncertainty of when you would see them again. Digital communication played a paramount role in both his recovery time and relieving anxiety while Suzanne was isolated at home.

To learn more about the campaign, visit the COVID-19 Tablet Campaign Go Fund Me Page.

Donations will be used for the purchase of:
Tablet devices
Earphones with microphones
Tablet stands or clamps for attaching to patient tables/beds/lockers
Tablet covers to allow for disinfecting

After the crisis, the team hopes hospitals and nursing homes will keep the tablets for the benefit of people who may be in long-term or critical care who may have limited access to visitors.

Professor Gerardine Doyle, Director of UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, said,

“We are immensely proud of Ciara, Emma and Suzanne for their leadership role in what is truly one of the greatest challenges of our generation. The impact that our MBA alumni are having across the medical profession in the fight against COVID-19 highlights our students’ dedication to having a positive impact on society and leadership skills we strive to instil.”

Professor Doyle’s own research focuses on health literacy and value measurement in healthcare delivery.


Discover our Rankings and Accreditations