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New TMC program allows patient visitation through courtyard windows

Posted at 3:56 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 21:17:49-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson Medical Center’s campus design has courtyards and patios right outside of patient rooms. Now, amid the pandemic and with new very specific visitation rules, the hospital is putting them to use in a way never done before.

Hospital patient Ruth Garrett received a visit from her friend, Beverly Farmer, on Thursday - all thanks to a new visitation program at TMC.

At the start of the pandemic, the center, along with every other hospital, enacted a no-visitor policy in effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. But it did recognize how hard having no one to see can be for many patients.

"The only people I see have on masks and gloves and I don't know them. I can see God's love through their eyes and their voice, but having a friend come and talk to me and being able to see them - even though they were the masks - I can see them through the window and its just so wonderful and so uplifting,” said Garrett.

For any patient with a patio-facing window, visits are set to about 30-minute increments.

"I'm grateful that I get to see her. I was worried about her coming to the hospital this time, but I think she's going to be OK,” said Farmer.

"Having the support of your loved ones and friends and family is a really important part of your healing,” said Mimi Coomler, TMC’s COO.

Coomler said TMC is one of the only facilities in southern Arizona that has as many patient rooms as they do close to its courtyards.

"It is uplifting the spirits of our patients, it’s helping them to heal and its also reducing anxiety for family members. They can look their loved ones in the eye. They're talking on the phone through the window. It’s a very, very special program,” said Coomler.

If you have a loved one at TMC staying in a patio facing room, Coomler said to call them.

Once the patient says they have people wanting to visit them through the windows, TMC staff will help make it happen by scheduling a time for the visit.

All visitors are screened and provided face masks upon entering the hospital, if they don't already have one.