Many long-term care facilities and hospitals, at the urging of CDC and State Departments of Health, have limited or outright banned visitors during the early days of coping with COVID-19. Those which have not yet will surely do so in the near future. This is certainly a prudent reaction, both to protect vulnerable populations, and to allow our health care providers to focus on patient care.
The downside, of course, is that isolation itself is creating a risk to the well-being of those who rely on visitors for connection to the outside world, and for help with day-to-day tasks that staff is often unable to provide. A further complication is that, in most facilities, communal activities and meals are also suspended to reduce contagion, so our loved ones are even more isolated.
One obvious suggestion, of course, is to communicate by phone, or if the patient is able by video chat. Another is to send cards and short notes often.
The harder question is how to provide stimulation and assistance. For example, for years my sister and I did laundry, paid bills, generally straightened up for our Mom – I don’t know who would have done it if we couldn’t go in – certainly staff are already stretched to the max. I have reached out to my daughters – both RN’s, one with 10 years of elder care experience, one in hospitals – for their ideas
What ideas or suggestions do any of you have? I’ll report back any suggestions I get from my girls.