Technology helps UPMC patients stay connected with family, friends, spiritual leaders | Covid-19 Updates

Technology helps UPMC patients stay connected with family, friends, spiritual leaders | Covid-19 Updates

Williamsport — Visitor restrictions in place to protect people from COVID-19 can make time in the hospital even more distressing than usual, but community donations have allowed chaplains at the Susquehanna region’s UPMC facilities to help patients connect with their loved ones.

The chaplains visit patients with iPads and assist them in making video calls to their family, friends, and spiritual leaders.

“It’s amazing how something as simple as connecting a patient with their family members or clergy through a video call can help improve their mood and condition,” said Sister Gabrielle Nguyen, chaplain, Sisters of Christian Charity and UPMC. “A visit to a hospital may have moments of strain and worry, especially during times of crisis. Our team is here to help patients through faith, and providing hope and comfort enriching the healing process. The technology is easy to use and allows us to connect patients with loved ones and spiritual leaders to meet face-to-face whether they’re right down the street or across the country.”

Currently, six chaplains have iPads and are helping to support patients across the Susquehanna region’s UPMC facilities. The chaplains offer spiritual and emotional support as part of UPMC in the Susquehanna Region’s faith-based approach to care, which cares for people physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The chaplain-assisted video calls originally came about to help with patients who could not receive visitors due to COVID-19, but it will continue in the long term.

“A patient’s support network – family, friends, and spiritual leaders – play an essential role in helping patients recover from illnesses and procedures,” said Reverend John Charnock, director, Mission Integration & Ethics, Pastoral Care and Volunteer Services, UPMC Susquehanna. “It can be a detriment to the patient when they lack that support or feel alone. We’re grateful for the generosity of our donors and community for providing us with these great tools.”

Interfaith chaplains offer support services across UPMC through being listening ears when needed, providing practical help, and being a source of comfort in difficult times.

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