During the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov), strict visitation restrictions were implemented across the six hospital Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS) in an effort to protect patients, visitors and staff. In addition, to the extent that it is possible, YNHHS staff have been encouraged to work remotely. While these measures achieve the goal of reducing the number of people within the hospitals and enable successful social distancing, they also may contribute to social isolation for both patients and staff. A program called “Cards from the Community” was developed to help retain the human connection between our community to our staff and patients and advance feelings of gratefulness. The “Cards from the Community” program engages with local schools and institutions to encourage the creation of cards expressing hope, appreciation and well wishes for both patients and staff by children from the community. The cards are collected and displayed electronically to ensure that potential fomites are not brought into the hospital environment. The program is successful in meeting its goals of harnessing the benefits of volunteering for involved community members and providing emotional support to patients and staff within the hospital by widely collecting and broadly displaying the cards.
This article is associated with the Patient, Family & Community Engagement lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework. (http://bit.ly/ExperienceFramework)
Branson B. Cards from the community: Engagement of the local community to enhance patient and staff experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patient Experience Journal. 2020; 7(2):156-159. doi: 10.35680/2372-0247.1467.