Madeline Parker, USask medical student, is participating in the Student Senior Isolation Prevention Partnership (SSIPP), which connects medical students with isolated seniors for weekly phone calls during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Submitted)

USask unites: Medical students connecting with isolated seniors

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were announced in the province, members of the USask community have come together to support one another in these uncertain times.

Extraordinary circumstances have brought out extraordinary responses from members of our USask community. From frontline health-care workers to researchers looking for a solution to this global health threat, there are so many stories about people are working to make our home communities safer and healthy. Here are a few of the inspiring stories of our students, staff, faculty and alumni.

Thanks to a new national program, medical students with the USask College of Medicine are connecting with isolated seniors and hospital patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Madeline Parker, a third-year medical student at USask, is participating in the Student Senior Isolation Prevention Partnership (SSIPP), which connects medical students with isolated seniors for weekly phone calls.

“Seniors are already at risk for loneliness, but that’s especially amplified with social distancing, so our main goal is really to provide company (for) people who may not be receiving much interaction otherwise,” Parker said in an interview with the Regina Leader-Post.

“A lot of us miss interacting with patients right now, so it’s helpful for us to have that interaction as well.”

The program began at the University of Toronto, with individual chapters being opened at more than a dozen universities across Canada. While the USask chapter was only established a couple of weeks ago, more than 40 students have already volunteered their time to be connected with a senior.

“The evidence surrounding the link between isolation and depression and mental health outcomes is there, and I think our main worry is that this already vulnerable group—seniors—is going to be at further risk,” said Parker.

“They’re a group that maybe don’t have the social connections that others do.”

Read more on this program at the Leader-Post.

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As a community it is critical that we support each other and remain respectful during what is a difficult time for all of us. Please follow all guidelines and take all precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.

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