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Life Lines: reconnecting COVID patients and their families

The Life Lines project provides tablets, enabling families whose loved ones are being treated in intensive care units for COVID-19 can now be present virtually at their bedside.

Set up by Louise Rose, Professor of Critical Care Nursing at King's and Dr Joel Meyer, a critical care consultant at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, and Michel Paquet, CEO of Aetonix who created the secure online platform aTouchAway, the project aims to provide two tablets to every intensive care unit (ICU) across the UK.

With restrictions on visiting in hospitals resulting from the pandemic, Life Lines provides vital access for families of COVID patients, allowing them to meet the clinical team providing care, ask questions, and better understand the environment where they are being treated.


Together, we’re able to help keep families connected when they cannot be near, which may help to dramatically reduce family and patient distress and could revolutionise the way we communicate with families in the future. Life Lines can also help to alleviate stress for the intensive care nurses who play a huge role in communicating with families, and who are doing everything they can to make sure no one feels alone.– Professor Louise Rose, Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care

By early May, the project had been rolled out to over 140 hospitals, supporting over eight thousand calls between ICU teams, patients and their families.

In the tragic cases where loved ones can't fight off the disease, Life Lines is allowing families to say their final goodbyes.

We are getting great feedback from our relatives about the video calls and app. Thank you so much for your support. We've been able to make so many 'last' calls (which is devastating but also some small comfort to the families). The movement you've created is amazing and we're really glad we're part of making some positive impact.– Feedback from clinical team

Philanthropic Partners

The Life Lines project, was initially launched at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital, supported by King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre and King’s College London. The project has been developed by a unique partnership of clinicians, academics, companies and charities who have shared expertise and resources to help patients and families stay connected.

Initial seed funding of £1 million has been provided by the True Colours Trust and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

BT has collaborated with its tech partners Google, Samsung and MobileIron to provide Life Lines with a large number of 4G-enabled tablets secured by Android Enterprise, which come loaded with aTouchAway. To enable the connectivity to support Life Lines, BT can also provide ICUs with a 4G Wi-Fi hub which can be installed by clinicians themselves.

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