Virtual meeting technology used to connect patients with family

Virtual meeting technology used to connect patients with family

The same program many of us are using as we work from home is being used by hospitals to help isolated patients


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As we’ve been working our way through this pandemic, we’ve found ways to use the internet to get things done without being someplace in person. Some of that same technology is helping to bring patients in hospitals closer to their loved ones at home.

Dan Barber and his family, of New Middletown, hadn’t been able to talk to his mother, Erma, in weeks. She’s in the hospital, recovering from COVID-19.

He and his family are related to a WKBN employee who’s now working from home.

Monday morning, Dan, his daughters and his sister, Connie, were all able to connect with Erma using Zoom video conferencing.

Mercy Health started the program earlier this month at all three of its hospitals in the area.

“We really didn’t want to take away from the bedside nurse and patient relationship, so we have a dedicated team of staff that actually round, unit to unit, and office the service,” said Daneen Mace, with Mercy Health.

Zoom is a free service and families only need internet access and a smart device to make the connection.

“They always say that having your family member present is just as important as the antibiotic or the pain medicine, so it really has a positive impact for that patient in their healing,” Mace said.

Family members said Erma went into the hospital earlier this month, just days after Harry, her husband of 55 years, passed away from pneumonia.

On Monday morning, for the first time since she was admitted to St. Elizabeth, Erma was able to eat solid food.

Everyone’s hoping she continues to get better each day.

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