COVID-19: What does it mean for people in ICU and for families?

Posted by Rosemary, Volunteer Mentor @rosemarya, Mar 15 5:01pm

Becoming ill with COVID-19 is a uniquely isolating and scary time for all of us, especially you are in the hospital or ICU. Everywhere people are being asked to practice social distancing, many ICUs and hospitals are restricting or not allowing visitors. Luckily this community is virtually open any time all the time to connect with others. If you or a loved one are in ICU right now because of COVID-19 or for any other reason, our ears and hearts are open to let you know you are not alone.

Are you in the hospital right now and want to chat with others? Is your family member in the hospital and you’re not able to visit?

@mutwo

im afraid for his life, I witnessed things and experienced things that I should have never in a healthcare facility. if he was somewhere safe I wouldn't mind not being with him…the administrators are unethical where he is

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Welcome @mutwo. This is an extremely difficult situation for you and your husband. I'm so sorry to hear about the anguish you are feeling and the lack of confidence you have in the care he is receiving. Given the limitations on travel and other concerns around COVID-19 communications will be challenging at this time. It will require so much patience and persistence from you to help advocate for your husband. You mentioned that you haven't slept. That will make things even more challenging.

I'm glad that you found us here on Mayo Clinic Connect for some virtual support. To inquire if a transfer to a Mayo Clinic ICU, please call the Mayo location of your choice (Arizona, Florida or Minnesota) listed on this webpage http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63

Are you able to stay in the ICU with you at this time? Are you able to get any rest there?

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@mutwo

hello Ma'am, thank you kindly for your response. I have been trying to communicate with the nurses, physicians, advocates, administrators, etc, but I have been unsuccessful. The majority demonstrate a lack of care, integrity, and compassion. I have witnessed my husband being abused making him and myself afraid for me to leave his side. my husband is on a ventilator but was writing well to communicate. he requested a transfer as well as myself. I was told because its a level one trauma and they can provide his care there, even though we r terrified for his life and seriously concerned with care they are providing, they will not request a transfer unless I provide them with a name of an accepting physician. I was then told that I would have to give them a credit card before they would accept him (his provider informed me that was incorrect) he is a navy veteran and ny transit authority retiree, he doesn't deserve the abuse and torture that he is being subjected to. I haven't slept in weeks and cannot rest until he is somewhere safe and ethical. my husband told me to call the police. I did but they said they couldn't help us either. he is being held against his will and paying them to do so

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Hello, @mutwo I am so sorry that you and your husband are in this very difficult situation. As a nurse who worked in many stressful situations, I would suggest that you have a small notebook so you can record everything that happens. This way you won’t have to rely on your memory when you’re upset. Record nurses names and dates they were assigned to your husband. If you witness anything, record it also. Record doctors names, ask for their business cards. Record names and times of medications, etc.
I know that being in a hospital, especially an ICU, is overwhelming and foreign. Sometimes, what looks strange and upsetting to a family, is not. It’s just different. Tasks are done faster because they have to be done faster. Right now, with this virus situation, nurses, especially, are under a lot of pressure.
Since your husband may have to stay at this hospital, do your best to get to know the staff and let them know you also. But, mostly, focus on your husband. He needs to know that you are there and that you care. If I can help with anything, let me know

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@becsbuddy

Hello, @mutwo I am so sorry that you and your husband are in this very difficult situation. As a nurse who worked in many stressful situations, I would suggest that you have a small notebook so you can record everything that happens. This way you won’t have to rely on your memory when you’re upset. Record nurses names and dates they were assigned to your husband. If you witness anything, record it also. Record doctors names, ask for their business cards. Record names and times of medications, etc.
I know that being in a hospital, especially an ICU, is overwhelming and foreign. Sometimes, what looks strange and upsetting to a family, is not. It’s just different. Tasks are done faster because they have to be done faster. Right now, with this virus situation, nurses, especially, are under a lot of pressure.
Since your husband may have to stay at this hospital, do your best to get to know the staff and let them know you also. But, mostly, focus on your husband. He needs to know that you are there and that you care. If I can help with anything, let me know

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thank you kindly Ma'am for welcoming me here. I have been calling the location in Minnesota being that was the one he was considering having stem cell therapy at this spring. I was unable to reach anyone thus far. I was asked to leave the icu Friday due to safety concerns and now he's alone and I have limited insight about his care. I am not even notified of procedures. I don't know what to do besides to keep looking for a rescue for my husband. thank you again Ma'am for listening and encouraging me during this nightmare. I just feel that I have let him down. I pray that all is well for you and your family and that it remains that way

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thank you so very much ….I have names, medications, labs, test, but I was told that I was interfering with his care by doing these things. when the nurse comes in to give medicine and is scanning them in the system, I ask what medication it is and dosage and write it down, I ask about his lab results when it seems like there is a slow moment to update me, I ask physicians questions but was told by one of them that physicians get frustrated when asked questions because it appears that they are being challenged. I don't know how to help someone without asking questions to have a general idea of what is going on with them. we have been treated so badly in that place and now he is all alone. it feels like our life is over. I don't know what to do with myself. ive never felt so worthless, not being able to be with him knowing he's afraid. the nursing director of the unit was so heartless and cold the entire time. im going to just keep trying, I wont give up…thank you again for your advice

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@mutwo

thank you so very much ….I have names, medications, labs, test, but I was told that I was interfering with his care by doing these things. when the nurse comes in to give medicine and is scanning them in the system, I ask what medication it is and dosage and write it down, I ask about his lab results when it seems like there is a slow moment to update me, I ask physicians questions but was told by one of them that physicians get frustrated when asked questions because it appears that they are being challenged. I don't know how to help someone without asking questions to have a general idea of what is going on with them. we have been treated so badly in that place and now he is all alone. it feels like our life is over. I don't know what to do with myself. ive never felt so worthless, not being able to be with him knowing he's afraid. the nursing director of the unit was so heartless and cold the entire time. im going to just keep trying, I wont give up…thank you again for your advice

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Never give up. You have very right to ask – don't let egos stand in your way of ensuring that you have the answers to your bone fide questions!!!

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@gloriajean

Never give up. You have very right to ask – don't let egos stand in your way of ensuring that you have the answers to your bone fide questions!!!

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That’s what it appears we are struggling with (egos) now they are performing procedures without even notifying me. Im just sick . I’m trying to stay sane but I’m losing myself because it feels like I’m losing him….I’m lost

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@gloriajean

Never give up. You have very right to ask – don't let egos stand in your way of ensuring that you have the answers to your bone fide questions!!!

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Thank you sincerely

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@becsbuddy

Hello, @mutwo I am so sorry that you and your husband are in this very difficult situation. As a nurse who worked in many stressful situations, I would suggest that you have a small notebook so you can record everything that happens. This way you won’t have to rely on your memory when you’re upset. Record nurses names and dates they were assigned to your husband. If you witness anything, record it also. Record doctors names, ask for their business cards. Record names and times of medications, etc.
I know that being in a hospital, especially an ICU, is overwhelming and foreign. Sometimes, what looks strange and upsetting to a family, is not. It’s just different. Tasks are done faster because they have to be done faster. Right now, with this virus situation, nurses, especially, are under a lot of pressure.
Since your husband may have to stay at this hospital, do your best to get to know the staff and let them know you also. But, mostly, focus on your husband. He needs to know that you are there and that you care. If I can help with anything, let me know

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@mutwo How difficult it must be for you not to be able to be with your husband t this time. Please know that the staff is doing their very best in caring for your husband. The current COVID-19 has made it more difficult for your husband, you, and the staff. Everyone Is stressed and tempers can be short. Please try your best to trust the staff and know that they have your husband’s care as their first priority. Have you any family in the area? Or close friends? Or the minister of your church? Just someone that you can talk to and open your heart to. You really need to take care of yourself at the time. Let’s stay in touch. Becky

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@becsbuddy

@mutwo How difficult it must be for you not to be able to be with your husband t this time. Please know that the staff is doing their very best in caring for your husband. The current COVID-19 has made it more difficult for your husband, you, and the staff. Everyone Is stressed and tempers can be short. Please try your best to trust the staff and know that they have your husband’s care as their first priority. Have you any family in the area? Or close friends? Or the minister of your church? Just someone that you can talk to and open your heart to. You really need to take care of yourself at the time. Let’s stay in touch. Becky

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thank you Becky. last night I decided to stop calling to check on him. I learned about procedures that they are treating him with when I called his nurse yesterday. I felt that the doctors would contact me before making decisions regarding his care but maybe they feel im not well enough to make the best decisions…I don't know. I don't have anyone in that area, but if I did I still couldn't go see him. I just feel bad that they are not allowing him to write anymore. when he hits the bed, that's his signal to let you know that he needs something, or wants to say something. thank you for your words of encouragement and sharing your time with me to listen and counsel me. im grateful that I was able to discover your group and all of you. you have shown me kindness and care. I pray that your families and you are well. I will take your advice and trust that his care team has his healing as a priority. Im just waking up, so I finally had a chance to rest. staying in touch will be nice…thank you again

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@ltecato

For what it's worth, a couple days ago my sister got worried because Mom called her and reported having a lot of diarrhea and vomiting. My wife went to the hospital to check but was not allowed to go past the lobby. There was a sign on the door that said, "Stop! No visitors!" My wife was able to speak to a nurse and make sure that a doctor was monitoring the situation. Last we heard, Mom was doing better.

If I may make a very mundane suggestion, it would be that hospitals should try to make sure that patients can charge their cellphones and any devices that can connect with whatever WiFi is available. In my recent experience I have noticed that some hospitals don't seem to care if patients can do this, and it can make a patient feel quite isolated and helpless if they cannot communicate with family or other acquaintances. I know most facilities have landline phones in their rooms, but in this day and age, who has memorized more than one or two important phone numbers?

I was hospitalized last April and not only did my cellphone battery go dead but the battery in my hearing aid died and I did not have a replacement. The hospital had no devices to charge the phone, and it refused to supply me with a new hearing aid battery or allow me to buy a new pack from the pharmacy next door. This put me in a situation where I was not only deaf but I could not communicate with my family to ask one of them to bring me a hearing aid battery and phone charger. Luckily, when I was in the emergency room waiting to be admitted I asked a nurse for a pen and paper so I could write down family phone numbers before my phone battery was exhausted. A nurse called my mother — the same one who is now hospitalized — and got her to bring me a charger and pack of batteries. My mom can barely walk 30 feet on a good day, and the hospital more or less shamed her into getting a Lyft and bringing me these essential items in person.

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@ltecato I like your suggestion of ensuring there are chargers for cellphones etc. that the patients may be using. Many of us are so dependent upon on our phones to keep in contact with those that are closest to us. It may also be something to think about donating to local facilities!

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@mutwo

thank you Becky. last night I decided to stop calling to check on him. I learned about procedures that they are treating him with when I called his nurse yesterday. I felt that the doctors would contact me before making decisions regarding his care but maybe they feel im not well enough to make the best decisions…I don't know. I don't have anyone in that area, but if I did I still couldn't go see him. I just feel bad that they are not allowing him to write anymore. when he hits the bed, that's his signal to let you know that he needs something, or wants to say something. thank you for your words of encouragement and sharing your time with me to listen and counsel me. im grateful that I was able to discover your group and all of you. you have shown me kindness and care. I pray that your families and you are well. I will take your advice and trust that his care team has his healing as a priority. Im just waking up, so I finally had a chance to rest. staying in touch will be nice…thank you again

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How are you doing today @mutwo ? Are you feeling better about your husbands care? I certainly hope someone at the hospital has called you to update you on his condition. I hope that you are well and taking care of yourself. Becky

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still no one has called, I have called and asked for his case manager to call me as well as his physician but no call. the hospital will not even tell me who his case manager is. the nurses just say there is no change whenever I call to check on him. crimes are being committed against my husband and there is no one to help us, I don't understand this world that we live in. people don't value life

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Mutwo, I am so terribly sorry this is happening to you. My prayers that the staff are taking the very best care of your beloved they possibly can.

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@mutwo

still no one has called, I have called and asked for his case manager to call me as well as his physician but no call. the hospital will not even tell me who his case manager is. the nurses just say there is no change whenever I call to check on him. crimes are being committed against my husband and there is no one to help us, I don't understand this world that we live in. people don't value life

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@mutwo I am really sorry that no one has called you. It must be frightening and upsetting. Have you tried calling your husband’s personal doctor? He/she might be able to explain things better. Please be patient and remember that the staff is doing the best they can. Becky

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i left several messages with his nurses to have the physician(s) to call me but it never happened…

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