NEW YORK, (December 3, 2020)—With the onset of COVID-19, New York-based St. Mary’s Home Care moved quickly to identify new approaches for conducting virtual home visits. The widely respected agency is part of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, New York’s primary provider of long-term and rehabilitative care for critically ill and injured children.

One approach involved the use of tablets with content and applications for clinicians to use in caring for patients with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, hydrocephalus and other life-limiting conditions. Nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and nutritionists, use connected tablets to guide family members and patients through appointments that, until the pandemic, had occurred face-to-face in the home.

The tablets are provided by PadInMotion, an interactive patient experience platform provider, and delivered with pre-loaded software to support HIPAA-compliant communication, access to education, wellness and entertainment resources, and science-based methodologies that inform value-based care initiatives.

“Our team has gone above and beyond to ensure patients remain safe and continue receiving services they need,” said Elvira Fardella-Roveto, RN, FNP-BC, St. Mary’s Assistant Vice President. “In the early days of COVID, we worked tirelessly to prevent service disruption by advocating with state agencies, legislators, and insurance companies. PadInMotion tablets have been important to our success, and we appreciate the extra level of support we’ve gotten from our PadInMotion colleagues.”

One patient with cerebral palsy and convulsion disorder uses the tablet for weekly occupational and speech therapy visits. According to his occupational therapist, the patient has great pride in using ‘his own’ device and has shown how the tablet helps motivate his participation in sessions, Fardella-Roveto shared. “The patient has been working on fine motor skills such as buttoning his own jacket and other activities of daily living—all via the tablet,” she said.

According to Fardella-Roveto, St. Mary’s staff enthusiastically embraced the tablets and got creative in developing new methods to use them in care delivery, especially to help prevent regression due to pandemic-driven limitations. “The tablets are especially valuable for immunocompromised patients, such as those with cancer or on a ventilator,” she said. “We’re providing appointments on a regular basis including for those who initially cancelled in-home visits to minimize COVID exposure,” she said. “In some instances, staff use tablets to complete recertification visits to avoid lapses in service and prevent potential medical complications of delayed care.”

“It’s humbling to hear the stories of these children and their families,” said PadInMotion CEO Nir Altman. “We’re pleased to support the professionals at St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children—as well as thousands of incredibly talented front-line workers adapting to COVID-related challenges in hospitals, care facilities and homes across the United States.”

St. Mary’s averaged 438 tablet interactions per month from May through August 2020—with devices used for tele-visits as well as providing access to offerings such as patient education materials, third party apps for therapy and relaxation, and entertainment such as PBS Kids games and videos.

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