Introducing Upopolis, Canada's first secure online community connecting kids in hospital
MONTRÉAL, April 28 /CNW/ - CHU-Sainte-Justine, TELUS and Kids' Health Links Foundation today announced the launch of Upopolis, the first secure online social network for kids in hospital care in Québec. CHU-Sainte-Justine is the largest children's hospital in Canada and the first hospital in Québec to deploy the program.
Created by Kids' Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and powered by TELUS, Upopolis.com 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 bilingual 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. The CHU Sainte-Justine Child Life Department, which works with patients to help them cope with social and emotional issues associated with being in hospital, uses Upopolis as a therapeutic tool to help patients combat isolation and express their feelings.
"Mothers, children and adolescents are central to our delivery of care and we are committed to enhancing their hospital experience in any way we can," said Fabrice Brunet, president & CEO, CHU Sainte-Justine. "Upopolis makes hospital walls virtually invisible, connecting young patients to their support system including their family and friends. We are thrilled to bring Upopolis to our hospital to empower our patients and help them overcome the isolation they may feel while in care."
Through a unique partnership with KHLF, TELUS provided the technology to develop and build Upopolis. TELUS continues to provide site expansion, ongoing access to Upopolis, managed web hosting, application support and maintenance services.
The TELUS Montréal Community Board also donated $50,000 to the Kids' Health Links Foundation for the launch Upopolis at CHU Sainte-Justine. The donation provides funding for a CHU Sainte-Justine child life specialist dedicated to supporting children and health professionals with Upopolis. Thanks to a partnership between TELUS and the Montreal Alouettes, a specialized page has been created for the patients at CHU Sainte-Justine. Through this project children can access photos, videos and receive messages of encouragement from their favourite players.
"At TELUS, we believe that technology has the power to improve the healthcare experience and make a positive difference in the lives of children. That is the power of Upopolis," said François Côté, president, TELUS Québec and TELUS Health Solutions. "Through secured social networking, the young patients of Sainte-Justine have their own personalized virtual support system at their bedside to help them express themselves and feel closer to their loved ones. By being creative with technology, we have adapted the program to meet the specific needs of the patients, like the addition of the Montreal Alouettes home page. It is an honour to bring Upopolis to Sainte-Justine, a critical centre for providing paediatric care in the province of Québec."
The online support network was inspired by the hospital experiences of two teenage 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 thereafter, Katy was diagnosed with cancer and hospitalized for an extended period of time. During her hospitalization, Katy often felt disconnected from friends, family and her school. 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.
"The launch of Upopolis at Sainte-Justine marks the creation of a truly national hospital social network that reaches from coast to coast in both official languages," said Basile Papaevangelou, chairman and founder of Kids' Health Links Foundation. "The children in care in Québec and across Canada can share information, interests, experiences and emotions. This was my vision for the program and today that vision is a reality."
KHLF and TELUS launched the first Upopolis program in 2007 at McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton and since then it has expanded to other hospitals and healthcare organizations across Canada, including B.C. Children's Hospital in Vancouver, IWK Health Centre in Halifax, CHEO in Ottawa, Lutherwood in Waterloo and SickKids in Toronto. By adapting the TELUS technology, the Upopolis team has evolved the system to meet the specific needs of each hospital, whether adding French language capabilities or information specific to mental health.
The Saint-Justine UHC Foundation
The Saint-Justine UHC Foundation is dedicated to ensuring the long-term leadership position of Sainte-Justine UHC, the only university hospital centre in Quebec dedicated to the care of children, teens and mothers. To do this, the Foundation has developed a network of successful partnerships between the UHC and its donors in order to build a lasting heritage for the future.
TELUS (TSX: T, T.A; NYSE: TU) is a leading national telecommunications company in Canada, with $9.6 billion of annual revenue and 12 million customer connections including 6.5 million wireless subscribers, 4 million wireline network access lines and 1.2 million Internet subscribers and 170,000 TELUS TV customers. 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 $158 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered more than 3 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. Nine TELUS Community Boards across Canada lead TELUS' local philanthropic initiatives. TELUS was honoured to be named the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company ever to receive this prestigious international recognition.
For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com.
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.
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SOURCE TELUS Corporation
For further information: For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: Diane Fabi, Communications Manager, Fondation CHU Sainte-Justine, (514) 345-4931 extension 4356, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jacinthe Beaulieu, TELUS Media Relations, (514) 730-9410, email@example.com; Basile Papaevangelou, Kids' Health Links Foundation, (905) 817-1717 (KHLF office), firstname.lastname@example.org