Access takes on the task of rerouting patient mail

‘It was a need that arose’

Solutions such as the CarePages designed by Chicago-based TLContact are modern-day ways of expressing concern about people who are ill or undergoing surgery. But while people don’t send cards to patients as much as they used to, notes Gillian Cappiello, CHAM, senior director of access services at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, there is still a sizable flow of personal mail arriving at hospitals that must be dealt with.

With increasingly shorter lengths of stay, she adds, much of it arrives after the person has been discharged. At Swedish Covenant, Cappiello notes, the access department has taken on the task of rerouting that mail to its intended recipient. “It was a need that arose,” she says. “It originated with a call from somebody who had sent a card to a person who never received it. The caller said, ‘What do you do with it?’”

Realizing a need was there, Cappiello’s response was, “We can help with that — it’s a pretty easy thing for demographic people to do.” Now, she says, “rerouting mail is one of our big things. The mailroom [staff] check the patient census each day to see which unit [a piece of mail] goes to and puts it in that box. If the name is not on the census, they give it to us. We find out where the patient was discharged to and mail it there.”