Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center recently launched Code Sunshine, an overhead announcement that celebrates a patient’s recovery and discharge after being treated for COVID-19. Similar to the victory walks staff have been hosting, the Code Sunshine announcement is played as a patient is leaving the hospital.

One of the most recent walks was for a woman named Susan Kenimer, who had been a patient at Piedmont Athens Regional for 47 days and recently went home with her family. Two of the first people to greet Susan were the Jackson County EMS professionals who brought her here on March 20, as she was the first known person from Jackson County to be treated for COVID-19, Piedmont leaders said.


As more cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) are announced across the world, communities are also starting to see stories of people who are recovering from the virus. At Piedmont Athens Regional, the patient experience team has created a new way to celebrate a patient’s recovery: Code Sunshine.

“We recently held several victory walks, where staff lined the halls to celebrate and cheer for patients being discharged after being treated for COVID-19,” said Ashley Smith, patient experience manager at Piedmont Athens Regional. “We’ve had more patients recovering and going home, and we wanted to keep the momentum and excitement going without pulling together victory walks each time this happened.”

Instead, Smith said her team came up with the idea of Code Sunshine. When a patient now gets discharged from the hospital after being treated for COVID-19, the many nurses, doctors and others across the hospital will receive an announcement on the hospital’s overhead speaker that broadcasts the victory.

In addition to explaining what Code Sunshine is to those listening, the announcement will also play the song “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles, as the patient is brought down to the main lobby to leave.

“Code Sunshine is Piedmont Athens Regional’s way of making sure every single patient is counted and celebrated after their fight with this virus,” Smith said. “It also gives our staff and the caregivers of these patients a chance to celebrate their recovery and discharge.”

For patients who remain hospitalized, Smith recommends utilizing Piedmont Athens Regional’s new email line, which gives families and friends the opportunity to send messages and well wishes to loved ones currently staying in the hospital.

“We understand just how difficult it can be for our patients not being able to have visitors at their bedside during this time,” said Smith. “In response to the visitor restrictions that are protecting our patients and staff, we’ve created an email line to help everyone stay connected.”

Family members and loved ones can send well wishes to patients by emailing PARPatientExperience@piedmont.org and including the patient’s name and room number in the message.


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