LIVONIA – When local resident Nancy dropped her mother, Anna, off late one evening at St. Mary Mercy Livonia’s Emergency Department, she couldn’t help but feel nervous. It was April 22, near the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and her mother was approaching her 90th birthday. Nancy was unable to come in with her mother at that time due to COVID-19 visitor restrictions.
Meanwhile, Anna was thinking of her daughter. “I was more concerned about her than myself, since she had to go back home to wait for me, and I didn’t want her to worry,” Anna shared.
Thankfully, neither needed to worry. St. Mary Mercy Livonia’s staff worked to make the visit as safe and positive as possible. Nancy noted that there was “great signage as we approached the ER.” When they arrived, a colleague in a “spaceman” suit came to help Anna into the building. Anna said that seeing the amount of personal protective equipment staff wore was reassuring, especially since she had been staying home to protect herself from the virus.
Once in the Emergency Department, Anna was cared for by an exceptional nurse, Melissa. She described Melissa as extremely upbeat and cheerful, and said, “She did everything but a song and dance for me.” When Anna had no signal on her phone to call her daughter, Melissa let her borrow her cell phone. Melissa also called Nancy herself to explain Anna’s diagnosis and follow-up instructions. Anna was glad to be able to reassure Nancy that she “was in good hands.”
Anna also appreciated that her care was managed within her room, lowering her risk of exposure. Her x-ray was taken directly in the room, so that she didn’t need to go into any common areas, which helped her feel safe.
When Nancy needed to bring Anna back to SMML’s Emergency Department in June for a separate issue, they felt less anxious about the trip, as they’d seen how SMML was handling the pandemic. Nancy was able to accompany her mother this time, due to eased visitor restrictions as COVID-19 cases dropped. Again, they had a positive experience, and Anna said that she felt quite safe.
While visits to the ER during a pandemic can be anxiety-provoking, SMML’s staff are taking steps to make sure our patients feel safe and cared for. For Anna and Nancy, those steps, along with kind and upbeat colleagues, have made for positive patient experiences.