Google has donated 600 Google Chromebook computers for use by hospitalized vets. The Chromebooks, donated in conjunction with the Red Cross, will allow hospitalized vets to keep in touch with friends and family members online while hospitalized.
The American Red Cross and Google are deploying the first 100 Chromebooks at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Red Cross volunteers will be trained on how to use the Chromebooks and than pass that training on to soldiers who are recuperating from illnesses and injuries sustained while performing their military duties.
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Many soldiers that find themselves in military hospitals are often still very far from home. While the soldiers’ families may travel to visit their loved ones immediately following admission or a surgery, often times families must be separated from their loved ones as they undergo extensive post operative evaluation and rehabilitation.
“The Google Chromebooks will be a terrific tool for these patients,” said Sherri L. Brown, Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Senior Vice President. “Many of these men and women are far from home. The Chromebooks will provide patients and families with a means to keep in touch, as well as an opportunity for patients to continue relationships with other families they met while at Bethesda.”
The other 500 Chromebooks will go to Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Womack Army Medical Center, Navy Medical Center San Diego, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and used in the same way as the ones sent to Walter Reed.
The program is the brain child of Carrie Laureno who founded the Google Veterans Network and Audience Evangelist at Google’s Creative Lab. After a loved one of Laureno’s was hospitalized at Walter Reed she vowed to find a way to connect the Red Cross, and Google with these wounded soldiers. This is that way.
“Four years later I fulfilled my promise,” she said. “It was a hope of mine to go back and take advantage of the Google services available to help people at Walter Reed. The Chromebooks will help these patients build a support network and improve their quality of life.”
Soldiers at these medical facilities will be able to check out the Chromebooks for the duration of their stay. They will be trained on how to use the Chromebooks by Red Cross volunteers and an informational booklet called “Stay In touch While On The Mend”. This book, and the volunteers, will teach the soldiers how to make the most out of the Google Apps found on the Chromebook to keep in touch with family members and of course to keep their minds occupied, like with Angry Birds for Chrome.
Red Cross volunteers serve as a liason for the soldier during the duration of their stay. They meet the soldiers as they are checked into the hospital and help them everyday with basic needs and information the same way a public hospital’s volunteer network does.