The use of digital tablets eases the way to compassionate care during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Objective: A patient communication program was implemented as a response to hospitals visiting restrictive policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the program was to facilitate communication between patients and families, mainly through the use of digital tablets; thus program performance was evaluated by selecting the number of calls performed, the average call time, and the percentage of patients that used the program more than once.
Methods: A communication service for hospitalized patients who did not have access to a personal electronic device or were unable to use their electronic device was launched at different MUHC hospitals. A dedicated team of re-deployed employees was available to help patients connect with their loved ones using a hospital tablet or telephone.
Results: A total of 806 calls were performed between April and November 2020. Eighty one percent of the calls were performed during the non-visitors policy implementation, being video calls preferred over phone calls. The average call time was 15 min, 34% of the patients had a video call with their loved one more than once and 40% of the calls were performed in the intensive care unit.
Conclusion: The patient communication program can be described as a new delivery model of compassionate care. It was effective, helped reduce patients’ isolation and met the needs of family members and caregivers during the hospital non-visitors policy directed by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux de Québec during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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