Health care heroes: Patient Escort caregivers

ChristianaCare’s Patient Escort service transports more than 1,000 patients a day, ushering them to hospital locations which may begin in the Emergency Department to their patient room, to imaging and laboratory suites, to stress testing and catheterization and other procedures, and finally on to their continued journey as they depart from their hospital stay.

Their slogan is “Walk Many Miles, Touch Many Lives,” created by Patient Escort team member Tariq Turner. But, because escorts walk so many miles – usually eight or more daily – they like to pun that “our caregivers are the ‘soles’ of ChristianaCare.” Puns aside, their focus is quite serious.

“Performing our mission right supports optimal patient flow and hospital operations,” said Patient Services Manager Doreshia Hines. “In this time of pandemic, with restricted visitation in effect, collaboration is more frequent than ever.”

Doreshia Hines

Having very few or no visitors can make patients feel isolated, Hines said. “Patient Escort caregivers are showing great awareness of their unique roles in patients’ experience, very often stepping up to provide a human element that might otherwise be overlooked – the kind smiling eyes and reassuring voices. The gentle touch, while gloved, that bolsters the same kindness our nurses and practitioners strive to provide at a time when patients are not able to have their families here with them.”

Joshua White

Joshua White, like many of his teammates, likes the fact that he’s walking the walk of a dependable caregiver.

On the job as an escort for over a year, White says he feels a human connection with the people he cares for that’s deeper than ever;  it makes him feel good to know he is helping them get through their infirmity and get better.

As well-traveled caregivers, patient escorts see patients coming and going everywhere from the Emergency Department to the Discharge Lounge. Like everyone else functioning in the current COVID-19-stressed environment, sometimes they feel an emotional strain.

“But the team is resilient and always ready to rise to challenges,” Hines said. “We receive countless letters and feedback from our colleagues in Patient Relations about how the team positively impacted their experience.”

“They embody the spirit of #healthcareheroes,” Hines said. “They show up every day ready to serve our patients with love and excellence. And they don’t hesitate to give feedback about their experiences and to help ChristianaCare improve policies and procedures.”