New Program Keeps Patients and Families Connected — Virtually

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South Shore Health

A hospital patient video chats with her family during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Duross video chats with her family.

Even in a world filled with algorithms, hashtags, and followers, all people know the true importance of human connection.

When you’re sitting alone in a hospital bed, nothing brings a smile to your face quite like presence of a loved one. After all, visitors play a very important part in the healing process.

But what happens when visitors can’t make the trip? Even worse, what happens when the hospital isn’t allowing visitors at all?

We recognize the importance of being able to see friends and family while receiving care – especially during a global pandemic.

That’s why South Shore Hospital recently implemented the “Patient and Family Care Connector,” a video calling assistance program that connects patients to their families using the latest digital chatting software.

Whether it’s Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom, our colleagues are equipped with the tools and know-how needed to help any patient (young or old) connect with friends and family at home using a portable device.

Take 91-year-old Mary Duross, for example. A recent patient at South Shore Hospital, Mary was desperately missing the companionship of her extended family.

Unable to see them in person due to visitor restrictions caused by COVID-19, she enlisted the help of two Patient and Family Care Connector Liaisons to help her see her family virtually.

Those liaisons — physical therapist Celia Ryan and exercise therapist Kayleigh Humfryes — were happy to help, and got Mary set up with a video chat on Zoom.

A hospital patient video chats with family members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An admitted “technophobe,” Mary was in awe of what she was able to do – video chat with her entire extended family (all in different locations) using just an iPad.

A South Shore Hospital employee helped her with the technical side of the session, and even held the tablet for her so she could enjoy a hands-free conversation.

A trove of family members (close to ten) joined Mary for a video conference from her hospital room. With participants ranging from children to great-grandchildren, the family enjoyed the presence of four generations on a single Zoom session.

As she clapped along with her great-granddaughter, Mary’s eyes lit up with joy, enthusiasm, and hope.

“This is so wonderful…super wonderful,” she said. “In fact, it’s a miracle. You don’t get to see your family in the hospital these days so this is a great way of doing it. I’m so, so grateful.”

A hospital patient video chats with her great granddaughter during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Patient and Family Connector Program is available daily from 10 AM-7 PM. Patients in the hospital can dial extension 4091 to book a session.

For media inquiries, please contact Susan Griffin via email at sgriffin3 [at] southshorehealth.org.