Computer connects patients onlineto classmates,

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    MELINDA BEA

    A new computer in the Pediatric Adolescent Community Medicine Unit at the University of Utah Medical Center is reducing the impact of extended hospital stays on children’s education.

    A computer with access to the Internet gives patients direct communication with their teachers and classmates, which keeps them from getting too far behind.

    Tamar Prero, the in-house school teacher for the medical center, said the new technology is just what the patients need.

    “Hospitalized students who feel isolated from their classmates and home schools can now communicate with them directly,” Prero said.

    If a patient’s school is Internet-accessible then a direct communication is set up. If not, the hospital has a library of educational software that can be used.

    Connecting hospitalized school-aged children to their teachers is a part of Governor Leavitt’s efforts to make “all of Salt Lake School District Internet-accessible,” Prero said.

    “The students at our hospital should be just as connected as students in remote parts of the state. More than 500 patients a year pass through our unit and anything we can do to reduce the stress associated with their hospital stay is important,” Prero said.

    Prero works with children of all ages and is responsible for allotting time for each child on the computer. The computer is accessible for short-term and long-term patients and is on a moveable cart so that it can be taken from room to room.

    The computer was purchased with funds from the Henry W. and Leslie Eskuche Foundation.

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