Ryan Tubridy Hosts Virtual Quiz Final for Sick Children in Hospital

Posted on: 22 June 2005

Ryan Tubridy, Patron of Áit Eile – an on-line network for children in hospital – hosted the live final of a general knowledge quiz for young patients today (Wednesday 22 June).

  • From a base in Beaumont Hospital’s School, Ryan chatted with the winning team from the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght and runners up from Temple Street Children’s Hospital via a video link.


  • Áit Eile, an initiative of Trinity College’s Centre for Health Informatics, allows young patients to communicate with each other via e-mail, live chat and video conferencing over a secure Internet connection. The system also allows access to child-friendly medical information which enables them to research their illness and locate other children with similar conditions. “Research has shown that children in hospital, especially those suffering from a chronic illness, can experience feelings of isolation, change in family dynamics, depression and loss of peer interaction. Áit Eile offers hospital-to-hospital, hospital-to-home, hospital-to-school and even home-to-home connection allowing parents and children to be a click away,” explained Paula Hicks, Manager of the Centre for Health Informatics at Trinity College.
  1. The aim is to empower children in hospitals or confined to home to combat the medical and emotional challenges they face on a daily basis, to educate them and help them to cope with the difficulties of hospitalisation. There are also games and activities, educational material and lots more to do in the Áit Eile community. Making use of modern technologies, the Áit Eile project has created a virtual environment which provides for communication, social support, relaxation, entertainment and distraction. Áit Eile, which received an award at the eEurope Awards for eHealth in 2004, currently links 11 sites nationally: National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Cork University Hospital, Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh, Cork, Sligo General Hospital, University College Hospital Galway, Mid Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

There are plans to develop the system further and extend it to other European countries. Initial funding for Áit Eile has been received from the Information Society Commission through the Department of Health and Children, and support has come from IBM and the Irish Computer Society..