An iPad for each stay keeps boredom at the hospital away.

At least that’s the hope of student group ComfortApp, which aims to improve the quality of patients’ visits to the University hospital by providing them with tablet computers.

The student-run organization started donating iPads to the University of Michigan Health System’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2011, but earlier in the semester branched out to include C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. So far, the club has donated 23 iPads and is raising more money for future donations.

LSA senior Alex Zheutlin, president of ComfortApp, said it seemed practical to provide a distraction for patients who endure hospital visits that are often long and tedious. He said the harsh treatments for pediatric cancer patients are made more tolerable with distraction.

“This young boy was receiving treatment for his cancer, and whenever he had anything, any sort of needle, any sort of poke or prod, he was screaming, crying,” Zheutlin said. “It was a very stressful and disturbing time for him, so they took one of these iPads and just put it in front of his face.”

After the chid remained calm for the procedure, “It was pretty incredible to see how these devices were able to captivate and calm a boy who was scared and anxious.”

ComfortApp has received a grant from the Barger Leadership Institute in LSA and has received several volunteer awards.

LSA senior Ajit Ramadugu, the director of recruiting for ComfortApp, said the group chose to use iPads because of their utility and ability to upgrade software as it evolves.

“The reason we chose the iPad is that it’s a very versatile and dynamic tool for all types of use. It’s sustainable in the sense that we can donate them now and they’ll be useful for many years,” he said.

Ramadugu said the tangible results of ComfortApp’s work make it unique.

“I’m giving a more personal touch to the community more than I would be able to do with a different type of club that’s like more broad based or working on a bigger mission,” Ramadugu said. “Our mission is very, very focused.”

ComfortApp adviser Doreen McGuire, who works in development at UMHS, said she admires the group for their dedication to their mission and their aid in improving patient care.

Amy Schroer, a UMHS patient education librarian, said the iPads serve as a great distraction and way to pass the time for patients. She said that patients almost felt privileged to have access to the iPads.

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