Connection Center keeps families updated during pandemic

Especially now, “phone calls provide a different level of connection"

Elise Citrowske, in telephone headset, smiles at her desk.

Normally when the phone rings at the Good Samaritan Society Connection Center, a team of seven Connection Center specialists helps seniors needing a place to live or families worried about an aging parent. But during the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve also played an important role in keeping families informed.

“It’s been really rewarding because we’ve been able to reach out to families and truly ask them, ‘How are you doing?’” said Virginia Pahl, a Connection Center specialist.

Earlier this spring, Good Samaritan Society – Bonell Community in Greeley, Colorado, had their first positive cases of COVID-19. They asked the Connection Center for help calling families to keep them updated about the coronavirus and to help answer questions.

“They were able to step in and take that off the local team’s plate, which helped to ease the mindset of the Bonell staff and give them more time to care for residents,” says Suzanne Warwick, a Good Samaritan Society marketing business partner.

Connection by email and phone

Families of residents received frequent email updates from the location, and if they didn’t have an email, the Connection Center gave them a call.

“After three to four phone calls, families started to remember us, which created a great bond,” Pahl said.

These phone calls have helped alleviate anxiety for families.

“We get a lot of questions asking about the wellness of a loved one, such as ‘Are they healthy and safe? Can we talk to them?’” Warwick said. “Phone calls provide a different level of connection, especially when things are changing so quickly.”

For questions that need follow up, the Connection Center passes along messages to the local team. That team then reaches out to families, ensuring that they have all the information they need to stay informed about their loved one.

For as long as Good Samaritan Society locations need it, this new role of the Connection Center will continue.

“Sometimes we can be on the phone with a family for up to 30 minutes just listening and that’s a part of what makes our role so rewarding — to be there to listen and to help families get through this time,” Pahl said.

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Posted In Coronavirus, Faces of Sanford Health, Health Care Heroes, Senior Services

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