Rogers Communications’ donation allows those in hospital to remain in touch
Brenda Poapst’s desire to help others is what drew her into nursing. Twelve years later, and two years into the pandemic, Poapst and all health care providers have had to alter how they provide care—including how they help patients cope when visitor restrictions are in place.
Poapst, a clinical resource nurse on Health Sciences Centre’s RR6 unit, cares for a diverse patient population of patients recovering from accidents, trauma, and falls. The 22-bed unit is home to many who aren’t currently mobile and who don’t have their own cell phone. Unlike other areas of HSC, RR6 doesn’t have phones in patients’ rooms. For many patients with mobility issues, accessing the communal hallway phone is difficult.
Thanks to Rogers’ generous donation of 60 phones and 63 tablets in August 2021, Poapst can once again help patients connect with their loved ones. For example, RR6 recently cared for a patient from northern Manitoba who didn’t have a cell phone and was expected to be at HSC for a long time. “She was really struggling, and this donated phone made a huge difference. This phone opened lines of communication and provided comfort for the patient and her family. When you’re in the hospital, you need connection the most,” notes Poapst.
The RR6 team cared for a man who also didn’t have a cell phone. After he was admitted, his wife fell ill and had to be hospitalized, too. The couple would have had no way of communicating if it weren’t for Rogers’ donation. “He had tears in his eyes when he talked to her and could hear that she would be okay. This helped immensely for his recovery,” recalls Poapst.
The impact of Rogers’ donation continues to be felt throughout the hospital’s 39-acre campus. Hardeep Samra, Manager of Patient Care on HSC PsycHealth Department’s PX2West, oversees a 25-bed unit that cares for patients with schizophrenia, eating disorders, bipolar, meth-induced psychosis, and personality disorders. Patients on this unit may be in isolation due to COVID or awaiting the results of a COVID test. Being able to provide patients with a tablet while they are in isolation has kept patients and staff safer. “Having these tablets makes patients more compliant with isolation, relieves their anxiety, and overall makes the unit safer for everyone,” says Samra.
“Thank you, Rogers, for providing a source of comfort and support when patients are in a vulnerable time. We need to preserve contact between patients and their loved ones as much as possible,” Samra says. “This donation has also been helpful for staff. It relieves anxiety when staff don’t have to be face-to-face with a COVID-positive patient who leaves their room. These tablets provide entertainment, communication, and connection.”
“We are proud to support the Health Sciences Centre Foundation by providing phones and plans for patient use while in care,” says Larry Goerzen, President of Alberta and Prairies Region, Rogers Communications. “At Rogers, we are committed to helping Manitobans stay connected and we continue investing in expanding our networks to close the digital divide.”