How Fujifilm instant cameras are helping patients and nurses to connect

We’ve all seen the pictures of frontline health care workers on busy coronovirus wards, their faces obscured by masks and headgear. The protection is, of course, vital for preventing further infections, but some staff noticed early on that many patients felt uncomfortable at not being able to see the face of the person who was treating them. The solution turned out to be as effective as it was simple: To pin a photo of their smiling face onto their medical gown.

After hearing about the selfies, Fujifilm decided to make the practice even easier for medical staff by donating some of its instant cameras to intensive care units across Europe.

“Donating Instax cameras and film is just a small way in which Fujifilm is able to help,” said company executive Hiromoto Matsushima. “We’ve been told that by being able to easily show the friendly face behind the personal protective equipment, it can help bring comfort and understanding in the most difficult of situations.”

Fujifilm makes a range of instant film cameras that it markets under the Instax brand. They’re simple to use, spitting out a small print the second you hit the shutter button. Its latest model is the Instax Mini 11,  released in February 2020. The camera even includes a selfie mode that you activate by pulling out the front edge of the lens, prompting the camera to focus at arm’s length for a sharp shot of your mug, complete with a broad smile.

Many health care workers on coronavirus wards in the U.S. have also adopted the practice of attaching selfies to their gowns. Robertino Rodriguez (below), a frontline worker at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California, said he felt bad for his patients when he approached them with his face covered, so he attached a selfie to his gown showing “a reassuring and comforting smile.”

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