AVA: Connecting Through COVID

Aug 28, 2020

Lisa Norton, Development & Communications Coordinator

Marjorie Hough was just shy of 90 years old when she tested positive for COVID-19. Needless to say, her family was very concerned.

“I did not know if I was ever going to be able to see her in person, or give her a hug or give her a kiss, or hold her hand,” said Marjorie’s granddaughter, Courtney Hough. Not knowing what to expect,

Courtney was grateful when social worker Kelly Kovach-Collicott set up an Angela’s Virtual Assist (AVA) tablet in Marjorie’s room so she could connect with her family on a video chat.

“The nurse in the room kept saying, ‘Look, it’s your granddaughter!’” Kelly recalled. “It took her a minute to realize it was her people on the tablet, but it was so cute when she did.”

Marjorie’s siblings, nieces, and nephews live all across the country, but with the AVA device, Marjorie was able to connect with eight of her loved ones at once.

“It put me and my family at ease knowing that she is doing well,” Courtney said.  “She’s looking good and she’s more at peace…That really was a blessing for our family.”

Courtney felt an even greater sense of relief when a few weeks later, Marjorie’s test for COVID-19 came back negative. For the first time in over a month, Courtney would be able to see her grandmother face to face.

“She really lets us know that you all have been taking great care of her,” Courtney said. “Your staff has been wonderful.”

In fact, Courtney even brought nail polish to the Care Center so the staff could do her grandmother’s nails.

“Your staff was able to paint her nails while she was positive,” Courtney said. “Now that she’s negative, I’m coming up there this weekend to do her second coat.”

Born in Huntsville, Alabama, the second of eight children, Marjorie has always been passionate about her family. A retired social worker, she is a faithful Jehovah’s Witness who loves blues music – especially Bobby “Blue” Bland. Marjorie has been a widow since 1989 at the passing of her husband, Solomon, pictured at right. She has one son, Terone; and one granddaughter, Courtney.

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AVA Connections

A daughter was able to see her father via a video chat with the AVA device. He had had a significant stroke and was in assisted living, where for weeks she was unable to visit, due to facility restrictions. “If it wasn’t for the AVA call they wouldn’t been able to see each other before he died.” – Lindsey Wiggins BSN, RN

One of our patients was recovering from COVID-19 in the Care Center, while his wife was receiving rehab care at another facility. With AVA, the patient was able to have several video calls with his wife. “She would talk to him in Polish. I’m sure it was nice to be able to speak in his native tongue.”
– Kelly Kovach-Collicott,
LMSW, ACSW

A patient who had divorced when his daughter was young, had lost touch with her for many, many
years. She lives in Oregon, but had
recently been back in touch through video chats. They were able to connect via AVA while he was in the Care Center. His social worker said when the daughter logged on to the call, “The patient lit up with joy when he saw her and became very excited. It was a very sweet moment.”
– Kaitlyn Bednarowski, LLMSW

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