When Jacob Schlesinger was younger, he was given a tablet to use while waiting to undergo a surgery. At a time when nerves and anxiety run high, the tablet served as a welcome distraction and made a lasting impression.
Now a senior at South Iredell High School, Schlesinger recently sought a way to help others in the same way.
“I remember that having something to distract me while waiting [for surgery] really helped calm my nerves and made me feel more relaxed in an unfamiliar circumstance,” Schlesinger said. “I decided it was a great idea, so I decided to go for it.”
After meeting with employees at Iredell Memorial Hospital to discuss the possibility of donating tablets for pediatric patients undergoing surgery at the hospital, Schlesinger created an online fundraising page and published it on social media. The fundraiser gained traction, increased shares, and raised enough money to purchase 5 tablets with uploaded content.
Last week Schlesinger presented the donated tablets to staff at Iredell Memorial.
“This will definitely be that tool we’ve needed to relax the children,” said Toni Fortner, Iredell Health System’s director of nurse anesthesia services. “We all know that kids are more tech-savvy and technologically dependent, and these will be a huge, positive distraction.”
Schlesinger recognized that nurses would also benefit from patients’ increased composure, and that the devices help parents in the moment they’re separated from upset and/or worried children.
“I even think it can decrease medication use in Outpatient Surgery because a lot of times, once children are focused on that distraction, that’s all we need,” Fortner said. “We roll them back, and they’re continuing to watch videos while we’re getting them ready to be put asleep.”
Schlesinger included a mixture of games, books, movies, and TV shows on the devices. He aimed to load content that kids would want to use and that would parents would approve of as well.
“I tried to include different types of content for a mix of age groups to keep a variety of kids interested. Some of the content includes picture books, movies like Frozen and Big Hero 6, games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds, and Sesame Street for TV.”
Schlesinger executed the fundraiser as a member of South Iredell High School’s International Baccalaureate program in which students create, organize, and lead their own community service projects. Schlesinger joined South Iredell’s International Baccalaureate program as a junior.
“The program focuses on blending different disciplines and on long-term projects as opposed to simply memorization for tests,” Schlesinger said.