St. Joseph's Healthcare virtual visits provide closer contact for dementia patients and their families

News Apr 23, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

Ana Yurgan-Rotella hasn’t seen her father, Peter Jurgan, since March 14, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Peter has mild to moderate dementia and lives at St. Joseph’s Healthcare’s Harbour North.

Despite restrictions on in-person visitors, Peter stays in touch with his family through St. Joe’s virtual visits program. The in-patient program uses hospital-supplied iPads loaded with video-call software to help keep patients connected with their families.

Ana and her children, Rachel, 14, and Cole Rotella, 11, used to visit Peter three or four times a week, but now look forward to their nightly Skype calls. Peter discusses hockey (and his longing for some live game action) and talks about games of checkers and other recreational activities.

Cole, who plays hockey, enjoys singing and goofing around with his grandfather over Skype. Rachel plays violin in the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Ana hopes to see her provide a virtual performance for her grandfather soon.

Since moving to Harbour North last December, Peter has kept in touch with his family over the phone. But with in-person visiting currently unavailable, the visual contact of Skype calls gives Peter’s family some added reassurance that he’s doing well.

“Just to be able to visually see each other and interact with each other and laugh with each other and see each other’s faces and smile makes a huge difference, rather than just speaking over the phone,” said Ana.

As a nurse practitioner at St. Peter’s Residence at Chedoke, Ana can appreciate the benefits of virtual visiting from multiple perspectives.

Peter, 74, worked at Dofasco as a first-class engineer and still has plenty of skills. He made his own key to open his room door (he now has his own key card) and fixed a faulty telephone cable as well.

Peter’s wife, Edna, doesn’t have a smartphone and hasn’t been able to take part in virtual visits. But Ana brought her to a window in the parking lot recently, where she could see Peter and was close enough to hear his voice.

Ana said Peter understands the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation and takes good care of himself by washing his hands and being careful when touching surfaces.

He passes the evenings watching re-runs of classic hockey games and snacking on chips that Ana delivers.

“The bottom line for him is he misses his hockey season,” said Ana.

Ana praised the staff at St. Joe’s for the care and kindness they have shown to her father. When Ana couldn’t make it over to deliver chips, one of the nurses, without being asked, took care of it.

“It’s just really helped me to know that he is with people who care about him,” Ana said.

Two generous donors have made St. Joe’s virtual visits program possible. More than $85,000 contributed by the Ever Hopeful Fund and the St. Elizabeth Home Society allowed St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation to purchase one iPad for every eight patients in the hospital.

Dr. Jonathan Crowson, a St. Joe’s a psychiatrist, said family contact is especially important for people with dementia.

“Family visits enable people with dementia to access their memories and remain connected to their own past — which really means connected to their own personhood,” he said in a news release. “We have witnessed people whose illness is so advanced hugging the iPad when they heard their family speak to them. It is those moments that really underline how important it is for us to make every effort to maintain those contacts at this time.”

St. Joseph's Healthcare virtual visits provide closer contact for dementia patients and their families

#keepseniorssafe

News Apr 23, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

Ana Yurgan-Rotella hasn’t seen her father, Peter Jurgan, since March 14, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Peter has mild to moderate dementia and lives at St. Joseph’s Healthcare’s Harbour North.

Despite restrictions on in-person visitors, Peter stays in touch with his family through St. Joe’s virtual visits program. The in-patient program uses hospital-supplied iPads loaded with video-call software to help keep patients connected with their families.

Ana and her children, Rachel, 14, and Cole Rotella, 11, used to visit Peter three or four times a week, but now look forward to their nightly Skype calls. Peter discusses hockey (and his longing for some live game action) and talks about games of checkers and other recreational activities.

Cole, who plays hockey, enjoys singing and goofing around with his grandfather over Skype. Rachel plays violin in the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Ana hopes to see her provide a virtual performance for her grandfather soon.

Since moving to Harbour North last December, Peter has kept in touch with his family over the phone. But with in-person visiting currently unavailable, the visual contact of Skype calls gives Peter’s family some added reassurance that he’s doing well.

“Just to be able to visually see each other and interact with each other and laugh with each other and see each other’s faces and smile makes a huge difference, rather than just speaking over the phone,” said Ana.

As a nurse practitioner at St. Peter’s Residence at Chedoke, Ana can appreciate the benefits of virtual visiting from multiple perspectives.

Peter, 74, worked at Dofasco as a first-class engineer and still has plenty of skills. He made his own key to open his room door (he now has his own key card) and fixed a faulty telephone cable as well.

Peter’s wife, Edna, doesn’t have a smartphone and hasn’t been able to take part in virtual visits. But Ana brought her to a window in the parking lot recently, where she could see Peter and was close enough to hear his voice.

Ana said Peter understands the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation and takes good care of himself by washing his hands and being careful when touching surfaces.

He passes the evenings watching re-runs of classic hockey games and snacking on chips that Ana delivers.

“The bottom line for him is he misses his hockey season,” said Ana.

Ana praised the staff at St. Joe’s for the care and kindness they have shown to her father. When Ana couldn’t make it over to deliver chips, one of the nurses, without being asked, took care of it.

“It’s just really helped me to know that he is with people who care about him,” Ana said.

Two generous donors have made St. Joe’s virtual visits program possible. More than $85,000 contributed by the Ever Hopeful Fund and the St. Elizabeth Home Society allowed St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation to purchase one iPad for every eight patients in the hospital.

Dr. Jonathan Crowson, a St. Joe’s a psychiatrist, said family contact is especially important for people with dementia.

“Family visits enable people with dementia to access their memories and remain connected to their own past — which really means connected to their own personhood,” he said in a news release. “We have witnessed people whose illness is so advanced hugging the iPad when they heard their family speak to them. It is those moments that really underline how important it is for us to make every effort to maintain those contacts at this time.”

St. Joseph's Healthcare virtual visits provide closer contact for dementia patients and their families

#keepseniorssafe

News Apr 23, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

Ana Yurgan-Rotella hasn’t seen her father, Peter Jurgan, since March 14, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Peter has mild to moderate dementia and lives at St. Joseph’s Healthcare’s Harbour North.

Despite restrictions on in-person visitors, Peter stays in touch with his family through St. Joe’s virtual visits program. The in-patient program uses hospital-supplied iPads loaded with video-call software to help keep patients connected with their families.

Ana and her children, Rachel, 14, and Cole Rotella, 11, used to visit Peter three or four times a week, but now look forward to their nightly Skype calls. Peter discusses hockey (and his longing for some live game action) and talks about games of checkers and other recreational activities.

Cole, who plays hockey, enjoys singing and goofing around with his grandfather over Skype. Rachel plays violin in the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Ana hopes to see her provide a virtual performance for her grandfather soon.

Since moving to Harbour North last December, Peter has kept in touch with his family over the phone. But with in-person visiting currently unavailable, the visual contact of Skype calls gives Peter’s family some added reassurance that he’s doing well.

“Just to be able to visually see each other and interact with each other and laugh with each other and see each other’s faces and smile makes a huge difference, rather than just speaking over the phone,” said Ana.

As a nurse practitioner at St. Peter’s Residence at Chedoke, Ana can appreciate the benefits of virtual visiting from multiple perspectives.

Peter, 74, worked at Dofasco as a first-class engineer and still has plenty of skills. He made his own key to open his room door (he now has his own key card) and fixed a faulty telephone cable as well.

Peter’s wife, Edna, doesn’t have a smartphone and hasn’t been able to take part in virtual visits. But Ana brought her to a window in the parking lot recently, where she could see Peter and was close enough to hear his voice.

Ana said Peter understands the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation and takes good care of himself by washing his hands and being careful when touching surfaces.

He passes the evenings watching re-runs of classic hockey games and snacking on chips that Ana delivers.

“The bottom line for him is he misses his hockey season,” said Ana.

Ana praised the staff at St. Joe’s for the care and kindness they have shown to her father. When Ana couldn’t make it over to deliver chips, one of the nurses, without being asked, took care of it.

“It’s just really helped me to know that he is with people who care about him,” Ana said.

Two generous donors have made St. Joe’s virtual visits program possible. More than $85,000 contributed by the Ever Hopeful Fund and the St. Elizabeth Home Society allowed St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation to purchase one iPad for every eight patients in the hospital.

Dr. Jonathan Crowson, a St. Joe’s a psychiatrist, said family contact is especially important for people with dementia.

“Family visits enable people with dementia to access their memories and remain connected to their own past — which really means connected to their own personhood,” he said in a news release. “We have witnessed people whose illness is so advanced hugging the iPad when they heard their family speak to them. It is those moments that really underline how important it is for us to make every effort to maintain those contacts at this time.”