Woman advocating for a loved one by staying in touch with hospital staff via phone

How to Advocate for a Hospitalized Family Member During COVID-19

May 27 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital visitor policies have become stricter in order to protect the health of both patients and staff members. Staying in the loop on the care of a hospitalized loved one looks different now than it did a few months ago. However, it is still important to be there for them.

Follow these tips to be an effective patient advocate if a loved one becomes hospitalized during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Choose one point of contact for your family

To reduce potential confusion and help streamline communication with the health care team, it is important to designate one person in your family to be the main point of contact for the hospital staff. The point person should be close enough to the patient to have knowledge of their medical history and background. Once this person receives information from the hospital, they can then reach out and share it with other family members.

Identify a point person from the medical team

Just like your family member has multiple loved ones, they most likely have multiple specialists and nurses on their care team working to treat them. While your loved one might be receiving care from more than one nurse day to day, there is likely one specialist who can consistently provide new information to you and your family. Ask the hospital staff who the best person is to stay in touch with for updates.

Stay in touch with your loved one

While most in-person visits are not currently allowed for patients, you can still use technology to stay in touch. Phone calls, texting and video chats are all great ways to stay connected with your loved one. Try to talk to them at least once a day as they will appreciate the company and interaction. Remember, if they don’t answer, try not to worry. They might be receiving care or getting some rest.

Remember the current circumstances are challenging for everyone

Doctors and specialists are also adjusting to hospital visitor restrictions. They are used to having in-person access to family members just like you are used to talking to them face-to-face. Remember that these new limitations are new for everyone involved in a patient’s health care. Remain patient with care teams during these unprecedented circumstances. To help, keep your loved one and their well being at the center of your focus.

Don’t forget that your loved one is surrounded by caring individuals

The hardest part of all of this might be feeling that your family member is alone and separated from you. However, it is important to remember they are surrounded by health care specialists who are dedicated to their treatment and recovery. Take comfort in this knowledge and use it to reassure others who are close to your family member.

Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.

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