CAPE BRETON, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - March 22, 2017) - Today, Cape Breton Regional Hospital paediatric patients join the Upopolis network, an innovative social media platform that helps young patients safely and securely access youth-friendly medical content, and stay connected with other patients as well as their families and friends while undergoing care.
Founded and created by Kids' Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and powered by TELUS Health, Upopolis.com is Canada's only private, secure and trusted online social network designed for kids and teens receiving medical care in hospitals and clinics. Upopolis differs from typical social networks by delivering therapeutic benefits for the youth who use it. These benefits include being able to access medical content written in youth-friendly language so patients can better understand their diagnosis and treatment plan; and enabling connections with other patients who share similar diagnoses through public and private discussion groups, which can lead to new friendships, shared experiences and new interests that form a broader support network for the patient.
"Our unit functions on family centered care," says Tracy Warren-Salt, Child Life Specialist, Pediatrics Unit, Cape Breton Regional Hospital. "We try to make the unit feel as much like home as possible. Adding Upopolis is another way we can help reduce the anxiety of a hospital stay and make it as normal and positive an experience as possible for our patients and their families."
In addition to remaining securely and privately connected with networks outside of the hospital or treatment centre while undergoing care, Upopolis also provides patients with familiar features of social networking such as personal profiles, newsfeed, instant chat, photo uploading and creating spaces based on common interests and/or diagnoses.
"Today, over 2,500 youth in children's hospitals across Canada have been able to access Upopolis. This is made possible by the overwhelming support of TELUS as our technology partner, as well as our many individual and corporate supporters," said Basile Papaevangelou, chairman and founder of Kids' Health Links Foundation. "Having Cape Breton Regional Hospital join our Upopolis family brings us one step closer to our goal of making Upopolis available across the country in every medical treatment facility that serves children and youth. We are excited for the patients to benefit from what the platform offers, and for them to take advantage of the opportunities for connection, collaboration and leadership that Upopolis brings to their hospital experience."
KHLF and TELUS Health launched the first Upopolis program in 2007 at McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton. Since then it has expanded to 24 additional hospitals and health organizations across Canada. The Upopolis team and TELUS Health also work together to adapt the program to meet the specific needs of each facility, whether adding French language capabilities or information specific to mental health.
"For youth undergoing medical treatment, research shows us that the ability for them to stay connected with their support network, both inside and outside of the hospital, is a significant part of the healing process," said Paul Lepage, President, TELUS Health. "Through Upopolis and our extensive work using innovative technology to drive better health outcomes for Canadians, we are privileged to help youth stay connected to friends, family and others facing similar health challenges, as well as learn more about their health through access to online medical information in a safe and secure environment."
About Cape Breton Regional
Cape Breton Regional Hospital, located in Sydney, Nova Scotia, is the regional referral and trauma centre for Cape Breton Island. The hospital is home to the Cape Breton Cancer Centre, the An Cala Palliative Care unit, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and renal dialysis unit. It offers a variety of general and specialized services including medicine, surgery, obstetrics, paediatrics, diagnostic imaging, cardiology, pulmonary, neurology and clinical support services.
About TELUS Health
TELUS Health is a leader in telehomecare, electronic medical and health records, consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management. TELUS Health solutions give health authorities, providers, physicians, patients and consumers the power to turn information into better health outcomes. For more information about TELUS Health, please visit telushealth.com.
About the Kids' Health Links Foundation
The Kids' Health Links Foundation was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina to foster initiatives focused on alleviating the stress, isolation and loneliness for kids and teens undergoing medical care so that they might be better able to overcome traumatic medical experiences. These initiatives include: Upopolis -- targeting healthy connections for paediatric patients; Upedia -- providing resources supporting child life specialists; and UMIND -- connecting professionals dedicated to child and youth mental health. For more information about the Kids' Health Links Foundation please visit: kidshealthlinks.org.