Connecting with families during difficult times

In times of illness, family is often one of the greatest comforts.

We are living in unprecedented times and Mackenzie Health has had to take substantial measures to ensure the safety of patients and staff. Despite these exceptional circumstances, keeping patients and their loved ones connected remains a top priority. Hospital visits may look a little differently these days but they still help ease the ache of physical distance.

Linda's Story

Linda has always treasured the moments spent with her son and twin granddaughters. Over the years, she has passed along a love of reading to her granddaughters – a passion they share to this day. Linda recently came to Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital for a surgical procedure. Shortly into her recovery, she was informed that Mackenzie Health would be implementing changes to the visitor policy to keep patients and hospital staff safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to evolve.

After a month in the hospital, Linda’s care team had gotten to know her very well and they recognized how fondly Linda spoke of her family, especially her granddaughters. They wanted to find a way for Linda to see her loved ones while social distancing and following the new visitor guidelines.

The teams at Mackenzie Health responsible for patient experience and patient relations worked tirelessly to develop a process and train staff to make this a reality. They worked with the Information, Communication and Automation Technology (ICAT) team on a technology solution, and thanks to all their commitment and efforts, Linda was able to connect with her loved ones via video chat and have the family connection she was desperately missing. The integrated team from across the hospital worked together to set up a tablet at Linda’s bed so she could see the smiling faces of her twin granddaughters in real time. “The staff were so supportive and helpful. I had time to talk to my granddaughters about the books they were reading,” Linda says. “The video chat was the highlight of my day. It felt like they were here with me in the hospital, but we were all able to stay safe.”

Through these difficult times, teams from across Mackenzie Health are coming together to keep patients and families safely connected. The ultimate patient experience includes making time for family connection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simeon's Story

The road to recovery has been long for Simeon who had already spent more than a month at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital when the COVID-19 pandemic hit York Region.

For the past three months, Simeon has been recuperating from surgery to his hip, all while receiving dialysis four times a week. Regular visits from his wife Francine and their two sons helped keep Simeon smiling and motivated as he worked to rebuild his strength. However, when visitors were no longer allowed at the hospital, a once cheerful Simeon became melancholy. From his family’s perspective, not being able to see Simeon also took a toll.

“It was so hard not being able to see his face and how he was progressing. A phone call with the nurse isn’t the same as seeing him,” explains Francine.

To lift Simeon’s mood and help ease his family’s concerns, Simeon’s care team helped set up daily video calls during his sons’ lunch breaks. Simeon now connects regularly with his wife and sons and they have seen a smile return to Simeon’s face.

“It feels very comforting to see my husband. I can see that he’s safe and doing better,” explains Francine.

Simeon appreciates having access to the iPad and having a team who takes the time to help connect him with his family. With his bright smile back, Simeon continues along the road to recovery with the support of his family and the Mackenzie Health care team.