By: Liz Yates—
Muncie, IN—Even with strict visitor restrictions in place for the safety of the patients and the community, Indiana University Health is continuing to nurture patient’s desire to stay connected with their loved ones during their stay. Though that connectedness may look different right now, it holds the same importance as it always has.
“The patient experience has always been important to us,” said Dawn Fluhler, director of experience design, IU Health Ball. “It has only become more so during this time of anxiety and uncertainty as we know part of our patient’s healing comes from staying connected to their loved ones and the outside world while they are in our care.”
If in-person visits are not an option due to the current restrictions, there are many other ways to stay connected to help lessen the loneliness and anxiety felt by both the patients and their loved ones.
Each patient room is equipped with a landline phone that is available for personal use from 8am – 10am daily. You can call the phone directly by using the number posted on the whiteboard in the patient room, or by calling 765.747.3111 and asking to be connected to your loved one’s room.
If the patient owns a cell phone, tablet or computer and has it with them during their stay, patients are strongly encouraged to utilize virtual video resources such as FaceTime, Skype or Zoom on their personal devices. The hospital is equipped with a guest Wi-Fi network that patients can use at any time. If a charger is needed for a personal device, patients can ask their nurse if one is available.
Additionally, if the patient does not own a device that can be used to make virtual video calls, IU Health Ball has a limited supply of laptops and iPads that can be lent to the patient for about an hour at a time. These devices are cleaned and sanitized before entering and exiting the patient room to aide infection prevention measures.
Lastly, IU Health Ball also offers patient postcards that you can design that offers patients words of encouragement and to let them know that you are thinking of them during this time. Visit https://iuhealth.org/patient-family-support/patient-postcard to create your postcard and they will be delivered to the patient within 24 to 48 hours, excluding holidays. As this is a busy time for our team members, it is asked that you limit to sending just one post card per day.
If none of these measures are available to you and you want to make sure that your loved one is not lonely during their stay, our team members will happily visit with them, while honoring the social distance policy as well as using personal protection precautions when necessary. Let your loved one’s nurse or unit charge know if a visit is requested.
About Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital
IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital serves as a tertiary referral center and teaching hospital for East Central Indiana and part of Indiana University Health. IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and maintains 1.2 million square feet of facilities. It is part of an elite group of hospitals with Magnet designation for nursing excellence. More than 17,700 patients are admitted every year and more than 300,000 outpatient procedures are completed annually. Jeff Bird, MD, is President. Learn more at iuhealth.org/ball-memorial.