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CPS Team Works Together to Put Patient Experience First

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Health care has always been a team effort. But amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as Alice Hyde takes extra measures to protect our patients and employees, working Stronger Together has become more important than ever – and some departments, like Cardiopulmonary Services and Cardiology, are leaning on each other to ensure patients get the compassionate, personalized care they deserve.

That’s what Echocardiographer Tom Vida remembers when, earlier this year, he was caring for an elderly patient who had come to Alice Hyde in need of an echocardiogram – a test that uses ultrasound to show how the heart’s chambers and valves are functioning. The procedure is an important tool cardiology providers use to assess heart health and diagnose heart conditions.

And just like many other aspects of health care during the pandemic, COVID-19 has dramatically changed many patients’ experience while receiving these critical services. On that day, Vida recalls, the challenge was ensuring the elderly patient – a 101-year-old woman who had come to her appointment alone due to visitation restrictions – was safe and comfortable.

Tom, who has been with Alice Hyde for five years and served as an echocardiographer for two decades, said gauging a patient’s comfort level during procedures like an echocardiogram – which requires a person to get undressed down to their waste and involves spreading ultrasound jelly on their chest – is an important part of providing safe and compassionate care.

“Sometime people get a little uncomfortable, so if I can sense that I’ll ask for one of the girls to come (assist),” he said. “You never know the background, and some patients just feel more comfortable with a person of the same gender in the room with them.”

Add to the mix not being able to have a relied-upon loved one with you, and a change like that can have a major impact on a patient’s experience, said Brittany Boyea, PAR, an MOA and part of Alice Hyde’s Cardiology team.

“I knew she (the patient) was worried that her son wasn’t there,” said Brittany. “She’s my patient too, and I know she likes him (her son) with her.”

To make sure his patient got the best experience possible, Tom reached out to Chasity Avery, an EKG Technician and CPS team member, to help ensure the woman felt comfortable and had any assistance she required while undressing for the procedure and laying down on the exam table. She called stepping in to help an important part of what members of the team do at Alice Hyde every day.

“We’re happy to help, that’s what we’re here for,” said Chasity. “A lot of our patients are dealing with things like heart attacks and strokes, so we’re just here to try and help in any way we can.”

After Tom completed his exam, he again reached out – this time to Brittany – so the patient had help cleaning up and getting re-dressed – a process Brittany said is delicate for older individuals.

“With her being 101, it’s so important to be careful with her and let her direct me during the process,” said Brittany.

Tom, who insists on walking patients through every step of the process and ensuring they understand and are comfortable with what is going on, said the team leaves nothing to chance when it comes to ensuring patients have a safe, positive experience.

“Whatever makes the experience better for the patient, that’s what we do,” he said.

The team’s close working relationship is something Brittany believes has continued to help patients deal with the challenges of changing hospital rules during the pandemic.

“Working together and being there for our patients – it makes them more comfortable,” she said. “The relationship that we have with each other and with our patients, it helps everyone. We really need each other.”

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