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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

'We saw a lot of loneliness and a lot of sad people': Technology keeping hospitalized patients connected

To help patients communicate with loved ones, UnityPoint Health began the Patient Family Support Team to bring in iPads and other devices.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Patients at UnityPoint Health are not allowed to have multiple visitors due to the coronavirus

To help patients see their loved ones, staff came up with the Patient Family Support Team that uses different technology—such as iPads and other devices—to connect patients and family members from their hospital room.

"I had a 97-year-old lady that had what she didn't realize was a smartphone," said Carrington Stalzer, the Patient Family Support Team lead. "It took a long time, but we were able to connect her with her husband."

Each patient at is only allowed one visitor a day between 11a.m. until 7 p.m.

“We saw a lot of loneliness and a lot of sad people," Stalzer explained. "And not only are you in an environment where it’s, already, kind of scary, but what we see is there’s still a lot of family members that aren’t able to come in.”

Staff has been trained to help patients with their tech devices.

Normally, each patient will get a scheduled 15-minute screen time due to the high volume of patients.

The program started in April. Since then, over 1,500 families have stayed connected.

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