“The families really took hold of this. We got such beautiful collages of photos and funny stories,” she says. “I thought by putting up pictures and letting the care team know how much their families cared for them, it could create a little more intimacy.”
“You’re grasping at straws just to feel like you’re there,” says Caitrin O’Meara, whose mother, Maureen O’Meara, was hospitalized in Sondra’s unit for more than a month and is now at home recovering. “It was just so comforting knowing there was somebody considering how we felt and thinking of us.”
People within the hospital were also moved by Sondra’s work. “After reading the cards, instantaneously these patients became the people that they were before they were sick. It was powerful,” says Dr. Gregg Rosner, a cardiologist who works in the ICU with Sondra.
“One of the devastating things about COVID is that, unlike any other disease we’ve ever dealt with in healthcare, it essentially excluded all visitors and family members from the hospital,” Dr. Rosner adds. “Sondra’s project gave the patients and their family members a voice.”
As Sondra hoped, her project also helped the staff get to know their patients on a deeper level.