Mission Hospital concierge takes care of 'to-dos,' lets patients focus on healing

March 15, 2013


When a patient is in the hospital, his or her "to-do" list doesn't just go away, and that can add to stress.

Patients at Mission Hospital of Mission Viejo, Calif., can worry less about mundane tasks of daily living and concentrate more on healing by using the hospital's free concierge service that is available six days a week.

With the help of an assistant, concierge Mirta Norgren picks up medications; collects mail, toiletries and other items from patients' homes; pays bills; goes to the store; arranges pet care and picks up dry cleaning. Patients only pay for the goods and services they receive and for Norgren's mileage, not for her time.

Mission Hospital advertises the service with a flyer in its patients' information folder, and Norgren meets with new patients. "Most are shocked we offer this service — they say it makes it so much easier for them to rest" when the to-dos are taken care of.

Norgren said people who live alone seem to appreciate her services most; but overextended family members also value her willingness to take on tasks for patients. She also extends support directly to family members — for instance, she's helped out-of-towners find suitable lodging and research the cost and availability of rental cars.

Mission Hospital contracts for Norgren's time through her employer, Best Upon Request, which has similar contracts with more than 200 hospitals and other companies in the U.S. Norgren passed Best Upon Request's background check as a prerequisite to getting her job. Patients have trusted her with their home keys, hospital records and even bank account PIN numbers, she said. When patients no longer need her services, she destroys all records containing their private information.

Keith Shane, age 50, of San Clemente, Calif., has been hospitalized at Mission Hospital several times. With family members far away and unable to assist with errands, Shane has relied on Norgren to cash checks for him and to shop. Shane chose to wear his own clothes, rather than hospital gowns, during his stays, and Norgren had the clothes laundered, since the hospital only washes its own gowns.

Shane said since he can rely on Norgren, he doesn't have to burden his mother, who lives an hour and a half away. He said Norgren is "easy to get along with and trustworthy."


Copyright © 2013 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2013 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.