Front line Nurse Helps COVID-19 Patients Connect with Family on FaceTime

Chamberlain Alumna working in ER during COVID19

Editor’s note: this is a screen shot of Sanchez (middle with her Wonder Woman mask on from CBS Two Chicago)

For Rocio Sanchez, one of the toughest challenges she’s faced taking care of COVID-19 patients in the ER and ICU is providing a deeper level of emotional care to help them know they are not alone, while their loved ones are restricted from visiting to reduce the spread of the virus.

"What makes me teary-eyed and is so heartbreaking is how patients who are really sick can’t have visitors, and I hear the despair in the voices of their family members who want to be there for them,” says Sanchez, a Chamberlain graduate from the Addison campus who is a floating nurse at Advocate Condell Medical Hospital in Libertyville, Ill.

But thanks to FaceTime, Sanchez and her nursing colleagues have found a way to create virtual visits with the patient’s family. This experience was especially moving for them when it looked like her 63-year-old patient Jeanne Hansen would not make it to Mother’s Day or see her two adult daughters and grandchildren again.

Even though the patient was hooked up to a ventilator and in a medically-induced coma, Sanchez and other nurses held an iPad up at her bedside so the daughters could see and talk to their mom. Hansen shared with CBS-TV Channel Two Chicago that she could hear her daughters and that is what miraculously pulled her through. She is currently recovering from COVID in her home.

"Although I am very religious, I really was in a very dark place," Hansen said in the CBS report. "I didn't want to live like that anymore. Michelle, my older daughter, called on FaceTime. She could see the look on my face. I said, 'I can't do this.' She said, 'Yes – you have to, Mom. We have more days ahead of us. We have a lot more zoo outings and pumpkin patches.' That is what turned me around. I have to survive for my kids."

Thanks to FaceTime and Zoom and the peace she can help bring to patients and their families, Sanchez, a single mother of three young children, says she is staying strong in the face of what has become “very mentally and emotionally challenging.”

Dubbed “Wonder Woman,” by her friends, family and co-workers, Sanchez says the last few weeks have become increasingly challenging as the number of COVID-19 patients continues to spike at her north suburban hospital. Earlier this week, they opened yet another COVID wing, she says.

“It’s a real balancing act because I am really committed here to help these patients, but when you see how afraid they are and alone, it just starts taking its toll on you,” she says. “I so remember the weekend that woman came in and how desperate her daughters were to talk to her. We held the tablet in front of the patient and tried to make the moment as private as we can for the family to say what they want. It’s really hard because you want to do more.”

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