Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: Open Mouth Masks Help Aid Communication

Updated: Jun. 29, 2020 at 11:04 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Sentara has recently made open mouth masks available to providers to help aid conversations with patients who may be hard of hearing.

Dr. Andrew Roman works in the Cancer Center at Sentara Martha Jefferson and saw the benefits of the mask for a recent patient.

“We starting talking and it became clear he was having a really hard time following what we were saying, but did much better with lip reading,” said Dr. Romano. 

Dr. Romano says the mask allowed the conversation to shift for the better.

“Our interaction completely changed once he was able to participate in the discussion more so.  He was very grateful and it was a much more fruitful discussion.”

The masks have enabled important communication.

“Communication is a huge part of what we do, and it’s also amazing with the emotional aspect of things, being able to convey emotion when you can’t see the expression someone is having on their face,” shared Dr. Romano.

They also allow doctors a new way to help, despite the situation we’re facing.

“It’s meeting people where they are and helping them understand their treatments and covey to us what they’re feeling and what they need.  It very much helps us to know how to treat patients, how to care for patients, and I’m glad to know that patients know this is available so they can be confident even if they are hard of hearing,” said Dr. Romano.

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