Drone Technology “Transports” Hospice Patient and Wife


​Kay and Dave are both deeply connected to their heritage. Kay, who was born in England, and her husband Dave, who is Welsh, met while serving in the Royal Navy and were married in 1947. They lived in England, Wales and Canada as Dave followed teaching opportunities before emigrating to the U.S. The couple took frequent vacations back their homelands.

When Dave developed a life-threatening illness, he and Kay were no longer able to travel, so his Hospice of the Western Reserve (HWR) home care team arranged the next best thing: a “virtual visit” through Flight to Remember

The innovative program – the first of its kind in the U.S. -  is offered in partnership with Aerial Anthropology, a provider of aerial videography and photography. It allows hospice patients to capture a bird’s-eye view of a place meaningful to them using drone technology.

The hospice team works 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 connecting to a feed of the drone video. The hospice patient or a family member become the “virtual pilot,” providing directions 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.

This first international Flight to Remember came about through the efforts of Adam Van Boxel, HWR social worker. Adam visits the family home regularly to check on Dave and support Kay. During one visit, he asked Kay if the couple had enjoyed traveling.  “Well, that opened the floodgates,” Adam said with a grin. “Kay pulled out their photo albums and couldn’t stop talking about all the places they had visited.”

Adam contacted Lori Scotese, volunteer service manager, who coordinates Flight to Remember in partnership with Aerial Anthropology and a cadre of volunteers.  Tom Davis of Aerial Anthropology connected with a pilot in Wales and provided Dave and Kay with a view of the countryside near Dave’s family home in the village of Tondu, the ruins of Ogmore Castle, a pub called Three Golden Cups and the coastline. 

“Standing on the beach with the wind blowing and the gulls flying… the cliffs and the sea,” Kay said wistfully. “That’s home.” 

Click here to view Dave and Kay's international Flight to Remember

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