Hospitals work around "no visitor" executive order

 Sparrow is offering patients iPads to talk to loved ones while hospitalized.
Sparrow is offering patients iPads to talk to loved ones while hospitalized. (WILX)
Published: Mar. 27, 2020 at 5:05 PM EDT
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Visitors are not allowed in Michigan hospitals because of the coronavirus.

However, Sparrow is offering iPads so patients can connect to loved ones on the outside.

"It's been really hard," said Tanisha Thompson, whose father was admitted to Sparrow Hospital about two weeks ago. "I'm so used to seeing him every single day."

Thompson's dad is there because his oxygen levels were low.

Governor Whitmer's executive order banning hospital visitors took affect shortly after he arrived.

"It kind of dinged me not being there. I've always saw my dad, even if he's just sleeping I like being near him," said Thompson.

Staff at Sparrow Specialty Hospital noticed this and started offering iPads so patients can video chat with family.

"It's got to be pretty scary to be in the hospital all by yourself and then you can only talk on the phone," said Tina Gross, Director of Clinical Services at Sparrow Specialty Hospital.

Gross said more and more patients are taking advantage of the opportunity.

"I'm just happy I can be able to do this so they can communicate, but at the same time it makes you understand how difficult it must be during these times," she said.

Gross said iPads connect families from across the country.

"This maybe the last visual they have on their family member because unfortunately some of these family members are very sick and we hope the best. But this maybe one of the last times they get to visit," said Gross.

Thompson said being able to see her dad while in the hospital gives her more peace of mind.

"When we saw him on the screen it was just amazing to see him and say 'Yes, I know you are doing OK. Now I can see you're doing OK," said Thompson.

Gross said Sparrow plans to keep the iPad program after coronavirus crisis is over.

Sparrow ordered more iPads so more than 60 will be available for patients throughout the Sparrow Health System.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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