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Patients seeing more faces at St. Paul's Hospital

Last Updated May 12, 2020 at 7:55 pm PST


A speech and language pathologist is bringing more human connection to St. Paul's Hospital

Gail Gumprich pinned a picture of herself on her uniform so patients can tell who they're talking to

Gumprich says she's noticed a positive effect for some patients

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s something Gail Gumprich’s patients never get to see – her face.

Like healthcare workers around the world, Gumprich wears gloves, goggles, and a mask covering her face to protect herself from COVID-19 while she works at St. Paul’s Hosptial.

But the speech and language pathologist says it has taken something away from her job.

“The problem is that patients have nothing to connect to except a voice. They’re already isolating with no visitors and no faces to look at,” Gumprich explains.

Since patients can’t recognize who they’re interacting with, she says they can’t tell if they’re talking to someone they’ve met before.

In hopes of bringing some familiarly to the hospital, Gumprich took a selfie, printed it off, and laminated it before pinning it to her uniform.

She says the action didn’t go unnoticed and even had an effect on some patients right away.

“[For] someone who is quite confused and unable to have a conversation, [to be] able – the first time I walked in with my picture on – to focus on the picture and actually have some kind of interaction with me, which was so positive,” she says.

The project is starting to get more traction now, and Gumprich says other staff at the hospital are getting their pictures taken as well.

“People are isolated inside and have no visitors, so that’s all the more reason patients are happy to see a face,” she says.

Even though some patients are seeing loved ones through video chats, Gumprich says they weren’t seeing any real faces in the hospital.