BANGOR — Northern Light Health launched a new recovery program to give patients access to a support system of specialists.
During COVID-19, Northern Light Health Eastern Maine Medical Center allowed only one visitor at a time per patient.
Adult Life Specialist Bree Clayton said the isolation led to loneliness for some patients.
Now an Inpatient Activity Program is in place to help patients stay connected and offer companionship to those feeling down.
“Our patients are in a place that’s unfamiliar, where there are sounds going off, there’s people always coming in the room for tests, and everything like that,” said Clayton. “This program offers a way for them to get away from that for a minute and forget about what bought them here or what’s to come.”
Clayton said specialists will hold reviews with patients to come up with activities for them.
She said many experience anxiety, depression or delirium during their time in the hospital.
Clayton said it’s heartbreaking to see patients who lost hope while staying in the hospital.
“They were lonely, so lonely not being able to have visitors as much,” said Clayton. “Most of our volunteers are high school or college-age and you have someone coming in and say, ‘Hey, I’m just generally here to spend time with you. You don’t have any tests and it’s all about you. You can do whatever activities you wanna do.'”
Clayton said activities can include playing games, telling stories, and doing crafts, among other things.
Patient Nichole Hamilton has been at Northern Light Health for nearly a month.
She said one activity helps take her mind off being in a hospital.
“I love to paint. If it wasn’t for Bree and her being able to get me supplies and spending time in here, I would have checked out a long and while ago,” said Hamilton.
For more information on the Inpatient Activity Program, visit Northern Light Health’s website.