OTTAWA – Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), TELUS and Kids’ Health Links Foundation today announce the launch of Upopolis, the first secure online social network for kids in hospital care in Ottawa. CHEO is the first hospital to launch Upopolis in English and French to meet the needs of their bilingual patients.
Created by Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and powered by TELUS, Upopolis provides the best features of social networking for young patients who often feel disconnected when they’re in the hospital. Upopolis provides a personal profile, personal blogs, instant chat and child-friendly games. The site also provides unique features to kids in hospital like a homework site to stay up-to-date with their schoolwork, links to kid-friendly health and wellness information, and connections to other children with the same condition.
“We take in thousands of sick children and youth who have to stay in hospital for extended periods of time. We focus our care on keeping our young patients connected to their family and friends for support,” said Michel Bilodeau, President and CEO, CHEO. “We are thrilled to launch Upopolis at our hospital using the power of technology to bring our family-centered care model to the next generation and extending the reach of care beyond the hospital walls.”
“Technology has an important role to play in helping Canadian healthcare providers improve the patient experience,” said Joe Natale, president, TELUS Business Solutions. “Upopolis brings kids the unique ability to have their world at the hospital bedside, connecting them to family, friends and other patients at anytime, not just during visiting hours. It uses the power of technology to make their hospital stay less isolating, keeping them plugged into the social networks that they depend on more than any other generation before them. The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario has a long and deep history for improving the care of children in hospital and we're very pleased to bring Upopolis to this world-class institution.”
Through a unique partnership with Kids’ Health Links Foundation, TELUS provides the technology to develop and build Upopolis. TELUS continues to provide site expansion, ongoing access to Upopolis, managed Web hosting, and application support and maintenance services.
Kid’s Health Links and TELUS launched the program last year at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario and since then it is expanding to other hospitals across Canada, including B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and IWK Health Centre in Halifax. “Launching Upopolis for the first time in English and French demonstrates how this program is expanding to meet the needs of kids in hospital across Canada,” said Basile Papaevangelou, chairman and founder of KHLF. “With the help of our partners and hospitals across the country we will expand the program to extend the reach for kids in care from coast to coast.”
The online support network was inspired by the hospital experiences of two teenaged friends, Christina Papaevangelou and Katy McDonald. In February 2002, Christina was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at McMaster Children's Hospital with a life-threatening illness. Shortly after, Katy was diagnosed with cancer and had to be hospitalized for a long period of time, feeling disconnected from friends, family and keeping up with schoolwork. Sadly, Katy lost her battle with cancer. However, their friendship and common experiences inspired Christina to explore ways to help kids in care stay connected.
About Kids’ Health Links Foundation
Kids’ Health Links was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina to connect, through technology, children in health care facilities across Canada with friends and family, their teachers and schoolwork. Kids’ Health Links Foundation created Upopolis — an innovative, private online community for children in care. The Kids’ Health Links technology solutions help to alleviate stress, isolation and loneliness for children in medical care in order to help children heal faster and better to overcome traumatic medical experiences.
TELUS (TSX: T, T.A; NYSE: TU) is a leading national telecommunications company in Canada, with $9.7 billion of annual revenue and 11.6 million customer connections including 6.1 million wireless subscribers, 4.2 million wireline network access lines and 1.2 million Internet subscribers. Led since 2000 by President and CEO, Darren Entwistle, TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services including data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, entertainment and video. In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed $137 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered more than 2.6 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. Nine TELUS Community Boards across Canada lead our local philanthropic initiatives. For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com.
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CHEO Media Relations: 613-737-2343