Southern Illinois Healthcare is piloting a new method to involve patient families in care while visitors are prohibited due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently being tested at two facilities, the method involves designating a family member who will be contacted during doctor’s rounds, to stay up to date on patient care.
Facilitating visitation through technology is something the organization has been working on since the pandemic began, said Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Harre.
“We did purchase additional iPads, so that families can continue to connect via Facetime with their loved one sin the hospital but we still felt like there was something missing,” Harre said.
SIH is also creating a new position of patient and family liaison. This will help patients handle the technical issues involved in making video calls and provide smartphones or tablets for patient use as needed.
Kris Sherrill, a continuous improvement specialist with SIH, said they are moving quickly to bring this process to all SIH hospitals.
“What we know is that family connections are vital, not only to the physical healing but to the mental well-being of the patient,” Sherrill said.
Sherrill said SIH hopes the processes that are developed during this time can continue to be of use after the coronavirus pandemic ends, to help patients whose family members live out or state or who can’t visit for other reasons.