COVID-19 has changed the patient and caregiver experience, but because of you, our staff is able to continue providing comfort to patients by keeping them connected to their families and loved ones.
The strict visitor policies adopted by hospitals to protect patients and staff against the transmission of COVID-19 have been particularly tough on Sam*, a seriously ill patient who had been in and out of Barnes-Jewish Hospital for more than a year. Due to the restrictions, Sam had been unable to see his 2-year-old son and other family members for many months while receiving care
Sam is unable to speak or operate a cell phone, and relied on the hospital staff to make calls for him. Members of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Palliative Care Service did try using their personal phones to help, but it was still very difficult for Sam who communicates primarily through non-verbal cues such as nods and facial expressions.
The situation was growing increasingly difficult as Sam needed to make decisions about his future treatments and desperately wanted feedback from his family.
With a grant from The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, BJC HealthCare has been able to provide all inpatient units with iPads to be used for patient and family visits. Utilizing the iPads, the palliative care team was able to set up a meeting via Zoom for Sam and his three siblings.
“You could see he was looking for answers and we saw him connecting with his family,” Rev. Katie Gholson, a chaplain in the palliative care unit, said as she recalled the exchange, “We all teared up at their responses. They said, ‘We’re with you on this’ and ‘We will support you either way. We just want you to be happy.’ It was the affirmation he needed to make his own decision.”
In addition, the palliative care team was able to set up another meeting so that he could see his young son.
“The little boy was napping at the time but you could see how deeply Sam felt just being able to watch him,” she says. “It was such a precious moment.”
*Patient’s name has been changed to protect privacy.