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A Message from the Patient Experience Leadership Team

Throughout this week, you’ve read stories of how our employees at Penn State Health are making a difference in our patients’ lives. While this week has been designated Patient Experience Week, we celebrate the accomplishments we have made in improving patient experience all year long and honor those who have dedicated their lives to helping others. From nurses and physicians to support staff and executive professionals, everyone has a part to play.

We conclude this week with a powerful patient experience story from a recovered COVID-19 patient. Our employees made this outcome one that we all can be proud of by providing safe, quality care, in addition to compassion – for which the patient will always be grateful.

Mona Miliner, vice president of operations, Hershey Medical Center

Shanne Keeny, director of patient and guest experience, Hershey Medical Center


Barbara Lovell of Middletown never expected to spend her birthday week hospitalized for COVID-19. But that’s exactly what happened. The day after she turned 45, she was admitted to Hershey Medical Center along with her 65-year-old mother Nelly. They were placed in isolation rooms across from one another.

Nelly, who lives with Barbara, has dementia as a result of a stroke she suffered in late 2019. On top of that, Nelly has lupus and heart issues.

“I never felt that awful,” Barbara said. “But all I could think about was my mom. Did she understand what was going on? Would she be all right?”

Knowing how important it was for Barbara to speak to her mom, the nurses came up with an idea. Nelly’s nurse gave Barbara his cell phone number. “He suited up and went into my mom’s room, and I called him and was able to see my mom and talk to her.”

Barbara said that kind gesture put her mind at ease, and she was then able to focus on her recovery. “I knew my mother was in good hands.”

Looking back, Barbara remembers the kind doctor who held her hand in the emergency room and told her he would take care of her.

She remembers the nurses who brought her snacks and bathing supplies and stayed by her side when she needed them.

She remembers the staff’s positive attitudes and the way they worked together as a team.

“I call them my Earth angels,” Barbara said. “They put themselves on the line to help people every day when they have their own families to care for at home. They are all amazing.”

Barbara was discharged on April 1 and her mom on April 2. “My mom actually did better than me,” Barbara said. “She didn’t need to be put on oxygen or be given antibiotics.”

For Barbara, being back home with her family is a godsend. But she said she will never forget those who took care of her. “They are embedded in my heart forever,” she said.

As far as next year’s birthday, Barbara said she’d like to be able to take a trip with her mom and, instead of turning 46, redo her 45th.

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