Creative drone program allows hospice patients to 'fly back in time'

Hospice of the Western Reserve patients will be able to “virtually visit” their favorite places streamed live on large-screen TVs thanks to a donation from Hyland Software. Pictured with one of the donated TVs at Ames Family Hospice House (left to right): Bob Phillips-Plona, Director of Residential Services; Tom Davis, Hyland’s Manager of Solution Engineers (and owner of Aerial Anthropology); Lori Scotese, Volunteer Service Manager; Lisa Scotese Gallagher, Director of Volunteer Services; Jenny Stonebrook, Director of Access to Care; Debbie Connelly, Hyland VP of Human Resources; Lisa Jackman, Hyland Employee Engagement Leader and Kathleen Vegh, Employee Engagement Manager.

A walk along the beach to capture a spectacular Lake Erie sunset, a visit to a much-loved family vacation destination … Hospice of the Western Reserve has found a way to allow patients and families at Ames Family Hospice House in Westlake and other locations to re-live memories like these in real time through a program called "A Flight to Remember."

The innovative program – the first of its kind in the United States – is offered in partnership with Aerial Anthropology, a Cleveland-based provider of aerial videography and photography. It allows hospice patients to experience a live, bird’s-eye view of a place that is meaningful to them using drone technology. The experience is offered at no cost to patients and families cared for by Hospice of the Western Reserve and its affiliate, Hospice of Medina County.

How does it work? Fly-over zones must comply with FAA safety guidelines, so Aerial Anthropology works with the agency and the family to determine whether the desired site is feasible, and to coordinate arrangements with facilities on the ground. The hospice team works individually with patients and their families to determine the location they would like to “visit.”

At a scheduled time, the family receives an email with a link to connect to a live feed of the drone video. The hospice patient or a designated family member serve as the “virtual pilot,” providing direction to the drone pilot by phone about what he or she would like to see. The flight can be viewed on laptops, tablets, or a smart TV with internet access. Experiences typically last 20 to 25 minutes.

Hyland Donates TVs to Support Program  

Hyland, a leader in providing software solutions for managing content, processes and cases for organizations, headquartered in Westlake, recently donated three flat-screen televisions and carts to the program for the use of patients at the nonprofit agency’s Ames Family Hospice House, as well as the David Simpson Hospice House in Cleveland and the Hospice of Medina County Care Center.

“We’re lucky to have the founder of Aerial Anthropology, Tom Davis, as a valued Hyland employee, and are thrilled to support the 'A Flight to Remember' program by way of an equipment donation,” said Debbie Connelly, vice president of human resources at Hyland. “It’s a win-win for Hyland because we are supporting a fellow employee and his personal passion for giving back to the community, while also supporting the important work at Hospice of the Western Reserve.”

“A key part of Hospice of the Western Reserve’s mission is enhancing quality of life,” said Lisa Scotese Gallagher, Director of Volunteer Services. “We work with Cleveland’s top chefs to prepare gourmet dinners through our 'Meal to Remember' program, partner with pro sports teams so our patients can attend games and even arrange private fishing trips and movie screenings. 'A Flight to Remember' provides a creative new option by using drones to bring memories to life. We’re extremely grateful to Hyland for its generous donation to the program.”

Laurie Henrichsen

Laurie Henrichsen is Public/Media Relations Manager for Hospice of the Western Reserve.

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Volume 8, Issue 17, Posted 11:12 AM, 09.07.2016