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>> AIDET: Kind Care Boosts Patient Satisfaction >> Comforting Transport >> Connecting with Care
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Comforting Transport

James Braithwaite transports patient Paul Hassell.

As a patient transporter at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, James Braithwaite escorts patients from their hospital rooms to the surgery waiting area. While the actual transporting takes just a few minutes, for a patient facing the unknown it can feel like hours. That’s when Braithwaite puts them at ease with a few reassuring words or by humming a gospel song or a John Coltrane melody.

“I do whatever it takes to bring their spirits up,” he says. “They really appreciate it, but I feel it’s part of my job.”

Some patients are up for longer conversations. They want to know where Braithwaite is from (Clarendon, Jamaica), how many children he has (three biological and five adopted), how long he’s been at Bascom Palmer (since 1990), and what he likes about the job (the people—the patients and his coworkers). The patients, in turn, tell him about themselves, their families, careers, even life lessons. That’s how Braithwaite discovers that the patient may be a famous actor, singer, or a champion boxer.

“When it’s someone famous, and I recognize the name I say, ‘Wow,’” says Braithwaite. “But they are very down to earth and want the same care as everyone else.”

Patient Dick Whitcomb, who went to Bascom Palmer for two cataract operations, praises the medical staff—and Braithwaite.

“Without a doubt, he’s one of the most impressive people I met there,” Whitcomb says. “I asked him why he seems to love his job so much, and he said, ‘They treat you right; they treat you like a real person.’”

Some patients need more reassurance. That’s when he tells them they are at the best eye hospital, and their surgery will be done by the finest surgeons.
If the patients ask him to stay with them for a few more minutes, he always does. It’s a chance to extend UCare.