Susanna Chan sits at the entrance of the Windsor Regional Hospital’s Metropolitan Campus’s emergency room, smiling while she greets people and helps direct them to where they need to go.
“When they’re coming in, they’re kind of a bit lost because they’re rushing, they’re in pain, discomfort, so I offer the best help as I can,” said Chan.
Sometimes she takes a walk through the department, offering hot blankets, pillows and ice packs to patients and visitors as they wait or sit in treatment.
Other times she lends an ear to someone in their time of pain or grief, lets a tired visitor know that there’s a Tim Hortons upstairs or directs visiting children to the Paediatric Observation Room where they can play with toys, watch movies or play video games.
Chan is one of three concierges in a new hospitality program from Transition to Betterness. She has been with the program since it came to the emergency room August 25. “All the people coming into the emergency room, I treat them like my babies,” Chan said.
Transition to Betterness was started in 1997 by and Doris Lapico and Tania Sorge to help patients and families dealing with cancer.
The concierge program first started in 2012 to help the hospital’s cancer patients and their families. It started out with the little things like helping provide information, parking passes, as well as Tim Hortons and meal cards. Now that it has taken to the emergency room, Lapico is hoping that the service can adopted by hospitals everywhere.
“Knowing that presence is there and someone cares about you, that’s important,” said Lapico. “And how about people who don’t have support and end up in emerge all by themselves?” She thinks the concierge service is really helpful for people who don’t have someone there for them in the emergency room.
Chan usually works three to four days a week as a concierge. When not at the hospital, she also works as a dental assistant.
Chan finds that the positive feedback and thanks from the people she helps is the best part of her job. “I say yes, you’re in the emergency room in the hospital, but you’re getting five-star service from us,” she said. “I feel so happy for the people that have a sad face coming in to the emergency room, but have a happy face walking out.”
The concierge service is offered during the ER’s peak times: noon to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The hospital also plans to offer a valet service in the future to patients.