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HoCC Concierge Serves Patients, Families, Employees

When you go to a hotel it is common to see concierge services offered. The Hospital of Central Connecticut believes patients, their families and its employees deserve the special assistance while in their care as well.

It all started when Anne Phelan, director of volunteer services, made a trip to a hospital in Florida to help a family member. She noticed a cart going around with cookies and snacks. She said her relative was not allowed anything to eat. They said “no, this is for you”. Phelan was a bit surprised.

“When I came back to the hospital here I said how that hospital was very attentive to the family,” said Phelan. “I was blown away. I wanted to start something like that here.”

The hospital investigated to see what other hospitals in the area offered. They found very little.

“We wanted a comprehensive type thing,” she said. “We came across a company that provides concierge type services, but we want more than the employees to get it. We want patients to get it. That was new territory.”

They did site services and eventually found a firm in Errand Solutions, based in Chicao, IL, who was willing to try to make it happen.

“The emphasis was always on the patients,” said Phelan. “Now we work with that company and volunteer services to put the two together where they man the station and volunteers go to the rooms and do the interaction.”

Some of the things the concierge does includes faxes, mailing services, notary services, arrange flowers and gift baskets, arrange transportation, make hotel accommodations, arrange for a pet sitter, arrange for food delivery or take-out, give patients CD players, DVDs and players, audio books, magazines, books, puzzles, handheld video games, laptops and WiFi services. There is an amenity cart with complimentary and items to purchase for each patient rooms. Free items include books, magazines, eyeglasses, blankets, hats and more.

There are arrangements with area hotels for example offering discounts to families.

“The most prevalent things people ask for from the cart is a laptop,” said Phelan. “We have portable DVD players with 800-900 movies to choose from. Those are big things as are cheater glasses.”

Most services are done free of charge and tipping is not allowed. If the item does require money, VISA cards can be purchased from the concierge service.

The services are bonded and insured and there are no additional charges for any of the fees.

Another part of the job includes patient discharge. Studies showed it took patient service advocates 21-25 minutes off the floor. That stopped a room from being cleaned and used by an emergency patient. Now the advocates bring the patient to the concierge. The concierge then takes care of the discharge.

“To my knowledge there are no other hospitals who do this to this degree,” said Phelan. “We have other hospitals who come to look at it and are blown away at what we offer.”

“I think it’s kind of neat that they partner with local businesses,” said Nancy Martin, senior public relations specialist at HoCC. “I think it’s been a help to the businesses.”

The concierge service has a contract with only one company of each kind.

The service has also been great to offer to the hospital employees. The concierge has done things such things for employees as arrange weddings, wrap presents, bring cars to be repaired, get clothes cleaned and get cars cleaned.

In the next five weeks the service will be expanded to the emergency department.

“They will offer patients and family member’s things to make their stay easier,” said Phelan. “The biggest thing is a warm blanket. The whole point is to improve patient satisfaction.”

Concierge service is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and patients just need to call Ext. 5177.