Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Launches Virtual Visitor Program Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The Virtual Visitors Program lets loved ones in on social chats and special moments while giving them a first-hand look at therapy and treatment plans

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A Boston hospital has found a way to virtually connect patients and their families amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For patients stuck in the hospital and their loved ones stuck at home, finding ways to connect during the pandemic has been vital.

"Technology has been absolutely incredible during this time," said Breanne Muchemore, Director of Case Management at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Through basic technology, Spaulding created the Virtual Visitors Program which not only lets loved ones in on social chats and special moments, it gives them a first-hand look at the therapy and treatment plans for the patient they may soon be welcoming home.

"Rehabilitation is an area where we love to involve families and it's crucial as they are the caregivers when they go home," Muchemore said.

"It's teaching those strategies, trying to give some hands-on examples, as to what to do when people return back home, and also so that the caregivers feel safe implementing these strategies once their loved one is back home," speech pathologist Alison Letvinchuk added.

The staff at Spaulding says while there has certainly been a learning curve for both patients and clinicians, they have found so many ways they can use the telemedicine tool now and well beyond the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In outpatient, we are doing virtual visits for our patients that we are unable to see directly in our outpatient clinic," Letvinchuk said.

Spaulding says all you need is a tablet or computer with a web camera to be able to take part in a virtual visit.

"It's opened a lot of doors for us for the future," Muchemore said.

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