Patients who are in the hospital right now, whether for COVID-19 or not, are at much greater risk for harm than usual. The loss of the advocate and family from the bedside, which is sadly necessary at this time to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, will result in higher rates of falls, pressure ulcers, and hospital-acquired infections, among many other safety concerns. Hospitals are working hard to put processes in place to mitigate this, but they are under a tremendous amount of stress right now. They need as much virtual assistance as possible from patients, families, and advocates. Here are some things you should do and resources that can help.

  • Be involved in your own care. Patients have much better outcomes when they are actively involved in making their own care decisions, but when people are sick and can’t effectively advocate for themselves, having a friend, family, or other support person involved is critical. This is true whether we are in the midst of a pandemic or not. Here are some great resources to help you understand why this is so important.
  • Keep track of your loved one’s plan for care at home. Schedule virtual visits with the care team, especially during physician rounds or nursing bedside handoff, and document the important information that should be reviewed each time. The resources below can be used to coordinate and document your loved one’s care from any location while visitor restrictions are in place:
  • Tell your story. Sharing our human experiences with each other right now is critical, so we can learn from each other and grow. We have an opportunity to be better than we were before!
    • PSMF’s Share Your Story: If you or a loved one is hospitalized right now and has a patient safety story to share, tell us about it!
    • Coronavirus Blog: Share Your Story: Annegret Hannawa invites you to share your experiences and observations around Covid-19, and how you see the world around you changing.
  • Practice mindfulness to better manage stress and anxiety. When caregivers and advocates can’t be present at the bedside, stress and anxiety for both hospitalized patients and their loved ones increases significantly. It is so much easier said than done to “clear your mind” and slow down, but it is more critical than ever that we be able to do this.
    • Coronavirus Blog: MBSR for Health Professionals: This resource provides a quick overview of Mind Body Stress Reduction techniques so they can apply these concepts on the frontline, right now. It is also an excellent resource for anyone who is under stress right now due to the coronavirus.