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Easing the way for patients and visitors

When the concierge team at Sacred Heart Medical Center was assembled last summer, the team of three navigated a new role to help ease patients and visitors’ way as they entered the hospital.

Eight months later, they found themselves once again learning a new role — serving as access control at the ministry’s entrances to ensure that everyone who came through the door were properly screened during the COVID-19 pandemic for the safety of everyone.

Tiffanie Browne

“When it first started it was kind of eye-opening and shocking for a lot of us because it was a complete culture change,” Tiffanie Browne said.

Browne is the shift lead at Sacred Heart In this role, she runs operations and is the first line of support when an issue arises. With visitor restrictions in place, most of the people coming to the hospital are either patients, or family of friends of patients who are receiving long-term or critical care. All are screened upon arrival. They’re asked if they’ve been tested for COVID recently, if they’ve been exposed to anyone with COVID and if they’re experiencing symptoms of COVID, one of which is if they have lost their taste or sense of smell.

If they’re being screened by Jeffrey Davis, another caregiver in concierge services, they’ll sometimes get asked if they lost their sense of humor — just to make sure they’re paying attention, and hopefully to get a laugh out of them.

Jeffrey Davis

“We are the happy face,” Davis said. “We are the ‘Know me, care for me, ease my way.’ We want to get them to their destination as easily as possible because most the time when you’re in the hospital, they’re dealing with something. So when they see a smiling face, a person they can look to the ease their way for that moment, it makes a difference.”

These protective measures were put in place in April. In addition to the screening questions, patients and visitors get a temperature check and if they don’t have their own, a face mask. This procedure is the same at Holy Family Hospital.

“Every day is kind of a new experience because you never know who or what situation is going to come through the door,” Richard Springer said. “You just have to make sure you handle it levelheaded.”

Springer joined Providence four months ago. He said his previous role was customer-service focused which has helped him while providing access control at the main desk at HFH.

Richard Springer

“We use humor to make things here easier, people are already having a bad day. We feel if they smile it might be just a little bit better,” Springer said.

Browne adds it’s important to remember that whatever brought the person to the hospital is out of our control. What can be controlled is how they are treated and that alone makes all the difference.

“You get the blessing of hearing so many stories from family members and it really shows the kind of people we have this community,” Browne said. “Even if we have to turn a visitor away due to restrictions, we can still show we care about our community and ensuring their loved one’s safety, as well as the safety of our staff.”