Staying in touch when you can’t visit patients, residents

Messages can be hand-delivered at Sanford Health, Good Samaritan Society

An older man who resides at a Good Samaritan Society location looks at his daughter via FaceTime on a cellphone. Technology is helping visitors who can't see their loved ones right now.

Parents celebrating new babies. Loved ones recovering from surgery. Whatever the reason for a hospital stay, visitors add a little extra joy or comfort to a patient’s day.

They do the same for residents of long-term care facilities.

During this time, as COVID-19 concerns restrict visitors for the health and safety of patients and employees, Sanford Health and the Good Samaritan Society have ways to help family and friends brighten a patient’s or resident’s day.

1. Send your greetings

The Email a Patient service through Sanford Health lets family and friends fill out a simple form containing the patient’s name and hospital location. You add a personal message and hit “Submit.” The email then will get printed and delivered to the patient’s room within 24 hours on weekdays.

The Send a Note service for Good Samaritan Society residents works similarly. First, you choose the location where your loved one lives. Then fill out the form, which has an option to add a photo. The resident will receive the message within 48 hours. If you don’t know a resident personally but would still like to offer a greeting to anyone who could use one, select a location, and then type “any resident” in the name field.

2. Visit a resident virtually

Staff at Good Samaritan Society locations are trying to help residents see their loved ones through technology. For example, in Beatrice, Nebraska, Skype has been downloaded to center-provided Kindles, and FaceTime is another option offered to residents to be able to see friends and family. Zoom, on staff laptops there, makes it possible to talk with family members in multiple locations at once.

3. Send a gift

Hospital gift shops are open.

For those who can’t deliver a gift in person but still want to bring that special kind of joy to a loved one, the main Sanford hospital gift shops are available for online orders. The gift will get delivered to the loved one during gift shop hours. A wide variety of items are available on the website, from baby gifts and balloons to candy and flowers.

4. Check baby photos online

New parents can choose to add their baby’s photo to the cradle roll on the Sanford Health website. Then friends and family can do a search to take a peek at the newborn.

5. Visit a CaringBridge site

The CaringBridge website offers an excellent way for a patient to easily update friends and family about an illness. Sanford Health’s website has more information and quick links for setting up a CaringBridge site, updating a CaringBridge site or visiting a loved one’s site.

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Posted In Community, Coronavirus, Senior Services, Wellness

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