Fujifilm UK has announced it’s donated Instax instant cameras to 31 National Health Service (NHS) hospitals across the United Kingdom and 19 other hospitals across seven other countries to help hospital staff ‘share a smile’ with patients while still wearing their personal protective equipment (PPE).

With doctors, nurses and other hospital staff having to wear an extraordinary amount of PPE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patients within the hospital are unable to have the more face-to-face interaction they’re more familiar with in less-chaotic times.

Left to right: [1-2] Healthcare workers at Florence Nightingale Group Hospitals, Turkey and [3] Azienda Socio-Sanitaria Territoriale (ASST) di Vimercate, Monza, Italy

‘Those working on the frontline in hospitals must put on gloves, gown, face mask, visor or air hoods before entering a hospital unit or caring for a patient – creating a full suit covering almost every feature,’ says Fujifilm in its press release announcing the initiative. It goes on to say:

‘This can make it difficult to reassure a patient, who cannot see a smile or a friendly face. PPE removes an important element of the personal connection that is usually so important between a clinician and patient. It can also heighten an already worrying and intimidating situation and make patients in ICU wards feel even more isolated.’

So, in its search to figure out how it can help NHS staff and patients alike throughout the COVId-19 pandemic, Fujifilm found a clever way to keep interactions a little more personal and friendly than otherwise possible while wrapped up in PPE. Through its donated Instax cameras, the staff is able to snap a photo of themselves and attach it to their gowns.

Fujifilm says roughly 120 Instax cameras and 7,500 Instax prints have been sent to hospitals in the U.K., Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Russia, France and Denmark, with more expected to be shipped out to interested parties.

In addition to helping patients feel more connected with their caretakers, Fujifilm says it also has the added benefit of making inter-team communication easier and boosting morale, as it can be difficult to see who’s underneath all the PPE, especially considering hospitals have staff moving more frequently between floors and departments.

Fujifilm encourages any health teams interested in receiving a special Instax kit to contact them via email at comms_uk@fujifilm.com.