Healthwatch

As part of an effort to make a patient's stay more pleasant, Rush Hospital now accepts e-mails for them.

When it comes to something like this, you've probably heard that it's the thought that counts. However, healthcare officials say something as basic as frequent e-mails, cards or phone calls can perhaps have somewhat of a healing affect.

"There's certainly some research to support that in general, that people who have the contact and who can access it when they need it the most are more likely to do better. They're going to have a better outcome," says psychologist Dr. Bonnie Allen.

To e-mail a patient, all you have to do is log onto the hospital's Website at www.rushhealthsystems.org Once there, scroll down the right hand side of the screen until you see the icon which says 'Send an email to a patient,' and click on that. Another page will pop on the screen. Fill out the information it ask and then click on 'Send' at the bottom of the page. The messages are delivered five days a week to patients by hospital volunteers.

"It's amazing how and what it means to them. They have just loved receiving their e-mails. Their eyes just light up," says volunteer coordinator Alice Raines.

"Many times it's not the content. It's simply the fact that you're willing to make the connection and express some concern," says Dr. Allen.

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