Jeanne Hansen said being able to connect with her daughters via an iPad played a big role in recovering from COVID-19.

Just three weeks ago, the 63-year-old didn’t think she’d be able to celebrate another Mother’s Day. She was breathing through a ventilator in Advocate Condell Medical Center’s intensive care unit in Libertyville.

Hansen thought her life was ending because of COVID-19 and was pondering how she would divide her assets among her two adult daughters.

That’s when Amy Case, a hospital social worker, asked if she’d like to have a video visit from her daughters using a hospital iPad. Condell and other Advocate Aurora Health hospitals have implemented video visits as a way for patients to connect to loved ones who aren’t allowed to visit in person.

“It’s so hard not seeing family or friends. All you could really see was the eyes of the hospital workers because they all had masks,” Hansen said.

“Although I am very religious, I really was in a very dark place. I didn’t want to live like that anymore. Michelle, my older daughter, called on FaceTime. She could see the look on my face. I said, ‘I can’t do this.’ She said, ‘Yes, you have to, Mom.’ That is what turned me around. I have to survive for my kids.”

Hansen spent three weeks in the hospital, including two weeks in the intensive care unit.

Now recovering at home in Round Lake, Hansen is being cared for by her younger daughter, Becca Haynes. Her elder daughter, Michelle Hansen, is planning to come into town Monday to take over for Haynes.

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Case has observed improvements in patients after virtual visits.

“In several instances, even when patients are on ventilators and somewhat unresponsive, we’ve seen patients open their eyes or otherwise respond positively to the sound of their family member’s voice,” Case said.

For Hansen, seeing her daughters’ faces allowed her to reconnect to life outside the hospital. She returned home April 23 to a parade of well-wishers driving past her house, holding up signs to welcome her back.

“It’s so hard not having contact with your family. Or your friends,” she said. “Seeing them (via virtual visits) got me through. It kept me going.”