Here are some tips for those with loved ones in a community that is not currently allowing visitation due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Stay calm and try to be reassuring and supportive to your loved ones in a community.
Most people will react negatively due to a result of how others respond to crisis and panic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming for our loved ones currently isolated in facilities. Try not to rush your loved one and talk slowly and calmly. Their anxiety can lead to healthcare concerns such as changes in sleeping and eating habits so it is best to try and provide reassurance and support at this time.
- Ask the care staff what the best source of communication is for you and them during this isolation period.
Relying on just the resident to relay accurate information can be misleading and false, even if it is what the resident deems to be true at the time, due to their higher level of fear and anxiety. A lot of facilities will allow you to establish a timely update of your loved one with a specific staff member. Ask if you can receive daily or weekly reports on your loved one’s status while being respectful of the care staffs’ time and responsibility.
- Ask administrative staff to update you on new safety procedures and testing protocols which help residents and staff.
Ask the staff questions about their visitor restrictions, testing or screening processes for staff and residents and what other safety measures are being set to best ensure each resident’s health and safety.
- Look for other ways to stay connected with your loved ones.
You can drop off communication devices, such as ipads, tablets, phones, etc if the resident is capable to talk with family. Also, you may drop off activity books, puzzles, photo albums, favorite snacks, etc. Currently, many facilities are prohibiting outside or non-essential visitors and staff which can decrease their activities on a daily basis. These types of items can help make them more comfortable and occupied during this time. Just be sure to check the facility’s protocols to make sure all the items you are bringing are acceptable.
- Protect yourself and Share the Facts.
It is important to know the facts about COVID-19 and how to best protect yourself both physically and emotionally. Check sites such as cdc.gov for the up to date factual information, protocols, rules and regulations. Use community resources that are offering assistance or can help you find emotional support through the crisis.