The isolation caused by physical-distancing guidelines and restrictions currently in place had the potential to impact the overall well-being of Providence Care’s patients, residents and clients. Thankfully, our wonderful donor community very generously donated or gifted technology—which has been vital in connecting people with their loved ones.
“It can be very distressing to watch people decline due to their lack of contact with their family,” says Dr. Neil Elford, Director for Spiritual Health, Mission and Ethics for Providence Care. “However, to see a patient connect with a missed loved one is so incredibly heartwarming and gratifying. It’s just helping people on so many levels.”
It’s not just Providence Care’s patients, residents, clients and their families who have benefited. Many health care practitioners are also able to connect and better support the people they serve with the gifted technology.
At Providence Care Hospital (PCH), it was an opportunity to build on the time-saving eVisits that were already in use by some teams, to help patients and clients who found travel difficult between sites. This has helped many people overcome issues caused by the restrictions.
“Overall, we’re finding that patients and caregivers are appreciating this care option, particularly during the current circumstances,” says Dr. Benjamin Ritsma, Clinical Director of Rehabilitation at PCH.
While they are exploring patient feedback and impacts via research, Dr. Ritsma notes, “For inpatients, virtual visits have limited missed therapy due to transfer and travel time, while facilitating timely access to follow-ups and our stroke care partners at Kingston Health Sciences Centre. For outpatient programs and clinics, they have been welcomed by patients for whom travel is challenging—and have facilitated ongoing care amidst restrictions on in-person visits.”
At Providence Care’s Providence Manor, staff have been using the extra devices to engage their residents, including taking part in virtual museum and zoo tours, games, musical sing-alongs and FaceTime visits with loved ones.
“The extra technology has been instrumental for our teams and residents,” says Jacob Pardy, Interim Coordinator of Recreation and Volunteer Services at Providence Care’s Providence Manor. “It’s basically the only tools we’ve been able to use since COVID-19.”
“This technology, and how it helps to support and bring hope to those we serve—it’s all been deeply moving,” says Neil. “For example, because of closing the US border, the family of an aging woman in the last weeks of her life were unable to visit. We were able to help them converse through a donated iPad. In other instances, patients have been able to take part in religious ceremonies, it’s been beyond helpful. We are so thankful for each of these generous gifts!”