Family uses app to spend final moments with grandmother who died of COVID-19

Lacy Taylor of Louisville, Kentucky, took an old laptop and installed the app Houseparty and gave it to hospital staff so her grandmother could connect with loved ones as she fought the novel coronavirus. Keiko Neutz died on March 30. Jenna Kaye Photography

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (ABC/WTVQ) – A Kentucky family whose matriarch had fallen ill to the novel coronavirus was able to say goodbye to her thanks to a social networking video app.

Now, the family has created a foundation to help others facing the same situation.

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On March 25, Keiko Neutz of Louisville was hospitalized with COVID-19. The 87-year-old was under isolation, so Lacy Taylor, one of her 28 grandchildren, made sure that Keiko could be surrounded by loved ones.

“Throughout Sunday, eight kids, grandkids we all popped in and talked to her,” Taylor told “Good Morning America” of the day her grandmother died. “She was not alone, virtually — not for one moment.”

Taylor took an old laptop and installed the app Houseparty and gave it to hospital staff. Over the course of a few days, Keiko’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would pop in and out of the “House” to say hello.

The app allows face-to-face connections between people. Taylor said she chose Houseparty because it didn’t require her grandmother to physically answer calls, and family members could check in on her anytime.

It was also through the app that the Neutz family spent their final moments with Keiko, who died on March 30.

“My most favorite thing about her…was her faith in the Lord and the way she taught all of us about that,” Taylor said. “She was really a faithful servant and she instilled the importance of being together and sticking together and helping others.”

Taylor and her sister, Jenna Forbes, have since created the Keiko Neutz Amazing Grace Foundation. Through the organization, they’ve collected 17 tablets to give away to other families who are trying to stay connected with sick loved ones.

“We came to realize we could do this one laptop at a time,” said Debbie Taylor, one of Keiko’s eight children. “My daughters, because they came from their grandma and have her genes, they realized they could help others.”

Taylor said two devices have already been delivered to the local hospital.