1.) It helps the already overworked staff.
Visitors can get ice water, ice chips, warm blankets, toast, snacks and other things.
I know that hospital staff are overworked during Covid. Work loads are reduced when visitors get these things.
I know that some visitors are more work than any thing else.
When Mom was in the Rehab hospital, there was a family who was told they couldn’t visit, because too many things went missing (including medication) when they were there.
But… the trustworthy visitors can save you time, and energy, by getting things when the patient needs them.
I still remember the passcode to the door of the kitchenette when Mom was in the main hospital, before she went to rehab. I didn’t give it to other families, but I did get things like toast, boost, and puddings for Mom. Because she wasn’t eating, we were encouraged to offer her food several times a day.
My getting her things made their workload lighter several times a day.
2.) Happier patients are healthier patients.
A hospital room can end up feeling like a prison, especially during days without visitors.
Mood and attitude affects health. I know this from experience, because I’ve been sick all my life.
I clearly remember as a young child figuring out that focusing on my pain and illness only made it worse, and ignoring it, allowed me to play with my brother for longer periods of time. (You can read the blog post “The Week Before I Went to the ICU” for more information).
3.) Happier patients can decrease the length of the hospital stay.
When I had surgery as a child, they expected me to stay in the hospital much longer than the 28 days I did, after surgery. I believe the difference, is my mother, although pregnant with my brother at the time, had only one child outside the whom. She was able to stay at the hospital 24 hours a day, sleeping in the bed beside mine.
Originally she slept on an air mattress beside my hospital bed, but during the first night, when my mother was pumping up her air mattress for the 2nd time, a nurse offered her a hospital bed, and tied the two beds together. (If you are that nurse, and are reading this – thank you).
4.) A positive mood, makes a more compliant patient and a less grumpy patient.
5.) A visitor can sometimes give a more complete story, than a very sick and confused patient. This aids in diagnosis, treatment and compliance.
6.) Staff can not be with patients 24 hours a day. Visitors can.
7.) When the patient is discharged, the family will need to know what happened in the hospital, and how to take care of the patient when they are at home. They can not do that if they were not there and do not know what happened.
8.) When the patient goes to their family doctor, a specialist appointment or returns for another hospital stay, the visitor can tell the story of the hospital stay.
My mother does not remember what happened when she was in the hospital. She has no memory of that entire year, of many of the acquaintances she had before, of many family events and many other things. Her normal pressure hydrocephalus took a lot of those memories away.
I remember, because I’m was her caregiver.
9.) Adequate treatment partly depends of an accurate storey.
When I take Mom to emergency and hospital appointments now I am not allowed to go in. She gets inadequate treatment, because she doesn’t remember her own medical storey, and I’m left trying to explain it to the triage nurse before she she even sees the doctor. I can’t anticipate every question the doctor will have and there isn’t any privacy outside emergency room doors.
Depending on how she’s feeling that day, she doesn’t always tell what she does know accurately.
It is not fair to deprive her of a full and complete medical exam.
10.) Recovery depends on a will to live.
I know when I was in the ICU, the hospital staff worked hard to make me live, including putting me on a ventilator, and countless other machines, as well as using the crash cart, jumping on top of me and doing stuff to save my life when I crashed on Christmas day. (My mother was surprised at how quickly “30 people where there” and how “that one man jumped on your chest”).
I also know I was fighting to live with all of my being. I fought so hard to wake up, to live, and get healthy again. I knew I was dying. It’s so hard to explain, but I know if I had wanted to choose to die, I could have.
If when faced with the choice to keep fighting or just let death take over, the patient is wondering where they’re family is, death would be an easier choice to make. Certainly it would be much less work.
If you are confused: I was Mom’s caregiver when she had Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, and a few years later when she recovered enough to take care of herself, I got sick and went to the ICU for an allergy I didn’t know I had. When I was discharged she became my caregiver. When I recovered enough to take care of myself, my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and my mother and I are his caregivers now. The lives of caregivers and patients can overlap, and roles can dramatically switch.
My mother and I both might be able to take care of ourselves and are currently caregivers for Dad, but neither of us are fully recovered. Hopefully we will be in the future.
I know that having visitors during Covid is complicated, but it’s very important, and I implore you to find a way to allow at least one visitor per patient during this pandemic.
It will help your patients and your staff in so many ways, especially, chidlren, teens, seniors, the critically ill, and those with cognitive issues.
I know you will have to screen visitors, because bad visitors can make things worse for everybody.
Thank you for reading this. Please share it however you want. You can retweet, or like the tweet you read this in, share it on your other social media platforms, or follow this blog.
I will try to post something written by me or a guest blogger every Friday (which I have no realized that for some of you is Saturday, because my Friday night is some people’s Saturday mornings).
On a personal note, my life has become very stressful, and small things like getting dressed (when during covid I have nowhere to go), and doing anything more than watching streaming services when somebody doesn’t need me, is becoming harder and harder.
If you are reading this an are helped by this, please let me know, by commenting, retweeting or sharing this. I need the encouragement. If you have any idea how to get out of this sadness, let me know, even if it’s just a cute video, or useful advice.