Basin Electric gives the gift of connection

two people in hospital room looking at an iPad

Jill Vollmers helps a patient connect with loved ones via an iPad purchased with funds donated by Basin Electric.

The power of human connection has rarely been more apparent than when those connections were strained by COVID’s necessary but isolating safety precautions. For people in hospitals and long-term care settings, the isolation can be particularly difficult as they navigate some of life’s toughest moments without loved ones by their side.

A donation from Basin Electric is helping re-establish patient connections with loved ones in an electronic, but meaningful, way. Basin Electric’s Charitable Giving Program donated $1,000 to CHI St. Alexius Foundation in April 2020 so iPads could be purchased for use by patients in intensive and palliative care.

Jillissa Vollmer is a registered nurse with CHI St. Alexius in Bismarck, North Dakota, specializing in supportive care and palliative medicine. Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious or chronic illnesses, and involves managing symptoms, pain and stress, and improving quality of life. Vollmer and other medical team members work closely with patients’ families as they discuss goals of care, and she says the pandemic restrictions have made that difficult. For a time, visitors were not allowed; now visits are permitted but limited.

Video calls have been effective in helping the medical team better communicate with families about patients’ treatment plans. “When making life or death decisions, we needed family more than ever, and the iPads helped give us that,” she says.

The iPads allow patients to see familiar faces and hear voices clearly without hindrance from full protection from head to toe. “Seeing and hearing their loved ones gives patients the motivation to keep fighting,” she says. “If it takes their fears and pain away for a few minutes then we succeed.”

Vollmer’s work in palliative care means she often supports families as their loved ones near the end of their lives. “For loved ones far away or perhaps sick themselves and unable to come into the hospital, we’re able to connect them to our patient’s to see them and to say their goodbyes,” she says.

Vollmer shares gratitude on behalf of CHI St Alexius for the donation: “Because of this kind gesture, we were able to help connect our patients to their loved ones for support, motivation, and prayer!”