The Drye family is pictured with nurses and staff at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital in August when they donated 47 iPads. Photo Courtesy Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
The gift of iPads and stands was paid for with $18,000 in donations the family raised through the Wayne Drye Memorial Fund. Drye’s daily mantra “I feel happy, healthy and terrific” is engraved on the back of the iPads.
Heather Dexter, hospital CEO, said that before the donation there were only 10 iPads for the medical facility’s 17 nursing units. One was on the COVID unit. The family’s gift ensures not only are patients cared for medically, their mental and spiritual health is cared for too, she said.
The hospital is preparing for a second wave of the coronavirus. “It’s a very different environment here without visitors," Dexter said.
Mary Drye, who was married to Wayne for 54 years, said the iPad idea helped the family feel connected to her husband, and nurses confirmed his positive reactions.
Nurse Tanya Snipes said that even while sedated, Drye’s facial expressions would change as he listened to the recorded messages and his vitals improved.
“I’ve been a nurse for 20 years and I’ve never experienced anything like this (pandemic),” she said. “I didn’t realize how important families were for patients' healing.”