Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada launches new social media platform for young patients
Upopolis, powered by TELUS, helps kids in hospital find medical information and stay safely connected to family, friends and other patients.
Montreal – Today, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada pediatric 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 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.
“Shriners Hospitals offer, family-centered supportive care to children and families,” says Trudy Wong, Social Worker, “We aim to make it feel as much like home as possible for our young patients and adding a tool like Upopolis is another way we can help reduce the anxiety of a hospital stay and make it as normal and as positive an experience as possible. We wish to empower them to connect with other patients here in Montreal or anywhere across Canada, and learn more about their illness in a way they can easily understand.”
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, more than 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 Shriners Hospitals for Children - Canada 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 27 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 Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada
Established in Montreal in 1925, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada is the only Canadian establishment within the network of 22 Shriners hospitals. This bilingual, short-term, acute care hospital provides ultra-specialized orthopaedic care to children from coast to coast in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. The mission of the hospital is to promote health and provide treatment and rehabilitation to infants, children and young adults with orthopaedic and neuromuscular problems such as scoliosis, osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), club feet, hip dysplasia, leg length discrepancies and cerebral palsy.
The hospital is committed to excellence and innovation in clinical practice, research and education and to ensuring patients and their families are treated in a caring, family-friendly environment. Affiliated with McGill University, the hospital provides clinical experience and teaching for residents and allied professionals within its outstanding new facility on the Glen site. The hospital is present in communities across Canada, thanks to telemedicine, outreach clinics and satellite clinics. Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada has been helping kids reach their full potential for 90 years and counting.
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.co.
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 pediatric 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.
For more information, please contact:
Kids’ Health Links Foundation
TELUS Social and Media Relations
Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada