Someone Cares: Face Time

Her project provides wearable portraits for medical personnel to connect with Covid-19 patients.

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Posted in , Jul 24, 2020

An artist's rendering of a medical professional wearing his portrait.

It’s hard enough to be hospitalized. Even worse, because of a highly contagious virus, not to have loved ones nearby. But having no human connection can jeopardize patient recovery. That’s what inspired artist and professor Mary Beth Heffernan to start the PPE Portrait Project during the Ebola outbreak.

Concerned about the isolation that Ebola patients faced, Mary Beth traveled to Liberia in 2015 and took photos of health-care professionals, asking them to offer the smile they wished their patients could see. She then printed the portraits onto stickers to be worn on personal protective equipment. Being able to see who was treating them helped patients feel less lonely and more connected to their caregivers.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the United States, experts revisited Mary Beth’s idea. Dr. Lori Justice-Shocket, a physician and artist, is among those providing wearable portraits to medical personnel through her website thehumanelementproject.com.

Have access to a printer and some clear tape? You can give your customers, patients and neighbors a smile even while you protect them by wearing a mask. Print out a 4- by 5-inch photo on nonglossy paper. Laminate the picture with tape so you can sanitize it regularly. Pin the photo to your shirt or hang it from a lanyard, so you can put your best face forward while helping keep others safe.

Learn more about Someone Cares greeting cards!

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