By Michael Abeyta

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A trip to the hospital can be nerve-racking on its own, and if you can’t see the face of your care provider because they are wearing a face mask, that can just add to the anxiety. At The Medical Center of Aurora, they have a new program that allows patients to connect with their doctors even though they are wearing PPE.

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Madison Elliott is a physical therapist at The Medical Center of Aurora. She says that since the start of the pandemic, the requirement to wear personal protective equipment to keep herself and her patients safe has caused a disconnect between her and her patients.

“You walk into a room and they might not realize who you are,” said Elliott.

It’s something Heather Myers, the Lead Speech Therapist and Manager of Rehab Services, has experienced as well.

“It’s hard to recognize someone by just seeing their eyes,” Myers said.

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That’s why they are thankful for the new “Beyond the Mask” initiative at HealthOne hospitals. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals now have an oversized badge with a photo of themselves to help patients and visitors connect with them.

“We felt like this project was a way that we could help connect with our patients on a more personal level,” said Myers. “I think it increases trust but I think, more importantly, it helps ease that stress and anxiety.”

Elliott says she has seen the difference in her physical therapy patients.

“If they see a smiling face they build that rapport with them. By seeing my face, it can kind of motivate them to get out of bed and to do therapy with us.”

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This is a program that is being introduced throughout HealthOne hospitals, so if you go see a doctor at any of their facilities you will be able to see their faces on their name badges just like in Aurora.

Michael Abeyta