Since July my family member has been in 2 Acute General Hospitals, a Long-Term Acute Care Hospital and an Acute Inpatient Rehab. Each has had their own policy and sometimes it seems as though it changes daily. Initially it was a strict no-visitation policy at the hospital and LTAC. The LTAC then lifted it to 1 person per 24 hour period for 1 hour between 8 and 4 M - F. That required temp check, mask, gloves, gown once in the patient room and then not leaving the room until time to leave.
The rehab has a 1 person per 24 hour period between 4 - 7 pm, with mask, temp check and covid screening questions. Once in the room, not allowed to leave unless ready to leave the building, When patients were suspected Covid infected the rehab did close down to no visitors until they had control and identified any other patients.
At a different hospital, there were no visitors for patients suspected of Covid. However, when my family was in the ICU, I was allowed to visit and stand outside of the room and look in the window. It was a one-time allowance for the patients wellbeing that I was allowed on that floor. And could only stay a few minutes. When moved to a regular room in the Covid unit, I was asked to do another one-time visit for their wellbeing. That required temp check at the door, mask, and covid screening. Once in the unit, placed a N95 mask under my own, put on a face shield, gown and gloves to enter the room. Was able to stay a few hours.
Since July has been one of the most challenging times of my life, not being able to see or talk to my family member while they were intubated in the hospital and not able to speak for themselves.
The coronavirus is a moving target, a water balloon that bulges out one side as you squeeze the other side, and a wiley adversary. And since you've listed the limitations so carefully, you followed the recommendations each time, even when they seemed arbitrary or over-done. I'm glad you were able to look through a window at one point, for not long enough. The health care providers aren't any happier than you or your loved one, and are even more at risk. It is a terrible burden for everyone.
You share your burden as a caregiver, and from your careful writing, i know that you are also a careful caregiver, detailed oriented, smart, creative. Your loved one is so blessed to have you as a caregiver, and i bet you feel blessed to have them in your life as well. Thank you for reminding those of us who haven't had to deal with facilities, rehab centers, hospitals, that we are blessed, but if we are faced with a facility and its policies, we can bravely adapt, as you have.
Thank you Jane! So sweet and I am detailed oriented maybe too much so at times. 🙂 I would thank each person I spoke with at the care facilities whether on the phone or in person, because I knew the visit restrictions were difficult for them on top of worry and stress for their health and loved ones. A lady came in to clean the room and I told her she was also a healthcare hero. She was so appreciative of that. I have wondered if my experience as a caregiver of a family member in ICU during the pandemic would be helpful to others.
Wow Jessica - it sounds like you and your loved one have really been through the wringer. All of the hospitalizations are hard enough in "normal" times - incredibly stressful, and usually the one thing you can do in those situations is to be there and advocate for loved ones. Much harder, now, to do that from a distance. I'm glad to hear that you have at least had some of those "wellness" visits - it's at least more than people had for many months. But the fact that it's better than it was doesn't make it any easier for you, I know. I hope your loved one is feeling better and is safe - that's paramount. But also that you are doing some things to nurture yourself through all of this. It's incredibly stressful to have someone ill and hospitalized and in rehab (I've been though it many times too - I get it!) much less to have that in a pandemic. Please be gentle with yourself and do some things that fill you up. Your loved one is lucky to have you advocating for him/her - even if it is on the phone mostly! Sending you a big warm virtual hug...
Thank you for the virtual hug! My family member is doing better. Still requiring minimal oxygen and needing assistance from rehab staff about 25% of the time. So, making progress with about 2 weeks to go.