At AdventHealth, critically ill patients weren’t going to stay at their bedsides alone, even during COVID-19. Virtual family visits salvaged patient experience.

Earlier this month, a patient experience leader held up a video chat to a 20-year-old woman giving a frail but celebratory thumbs up. This was the first time the woman’s parents were able to connect with their daughter after she was admitted to AdventHealth with COVID-19.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a blight on family engagement, with most healthcare organizations needing to prohibit visitations. These video visits have been a part of AdventHealth’s efforts to bring some semblance of normalcy to the patient experience and connect loved ones during a significant medical crisis.

“Visitor restrictions are, of course, so hard on our families and on our caregivers because we know how important having the support of a loved ones is for our patients,” said Pam Guler, MHA, FACHE, CPXP, LSSMBB, the vice president and chief experience officer at AdventHealth. “We also know how important it is for our families to be able to be there with their loved one and to keep everyone safe.”

A 2016 study published by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) backs this up, revealing that when family — as defined by the patient — is at the patient bedside in the ICU, satisfaction goes up and safety improves.

Separate research from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) revealed that when families are present during a patient’s hospital stay or care encounter, outcomes soar. The 2017 article suggested that family caregivers add another layer to patient care and bring comfort to patients.


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