ALLEGHENY COUNTY (KDKA) — A local hospital is helping patients connect amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The virus has kept family members and friends away from loved ones in the hospital, all in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

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At Jefferson Hospital, patients were lonely and families were distraught, afraid and concerned.

When Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all elective surgeries to be postponed, the staff at Jefferson Hospital had more time on their hands.

Nurses came up with a plan called “Connection Rounding”.

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Irma D’Antonio is the manager of nursing quality and patient experience at Jefferson Hospital.

“We had staff that wasn’t taking care of patients. So we were able to utilize those staff in a number of different ways,” D’Antonio said

Instead of having nurses stay home, hospital management put them on rounds.

“We connect families to the patients because they are not able to set eyes on the patient,” D’Antonio

The initiative began early last month. Five nurses saw non-coronavirus patients every day and showed them how to connect with family and friends through technology.

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“Our goal is to use iPads, phones or whatever technology we have at hand for the patient, whatever their preference is, to video conference their families,” D’Antonio said.

Jefferson Hospital has also instructed patients on how to download the facility’s “MyChart” app to connect online to see results and schedule virtual visits.

And there is more.

“We call it our comfort cart. And on the comfort cart are lots of goodies, puzzles, magazines, beverages, snacks, anything that will make the patient feel better,” D’Antonio said.

So has there been feedback?

“A family member would say, ‘I slept better last night because I got to see that she looked calm and seemed happy and well-taken care of,'” D’Antonio said.

Jefferson Hospital hopes to continue the “Connection Rounding” as things return to normal.

NOTE: KDKA is reviving our segment with Brenda Waters called “On A Positive Note.”

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