In the middle of a global pandemic, hospitals created policies for visitor restrictions to reduce the transmission of coronavirus to protect patients and staff and developed protocols allowing only one support person to call the critical care unit for patient updates. Late on a Tuesday afternoon, the Manager of Patient Experience received a phone call asking her to call Karri, the wife of one of our patients who was on a ventilator. Karri was struggling with updating her mother-in-law because she was very upset with the news she received, making it difficult to call her husband’s mom. Karri asked the nurse on the phone if her mother-in-law could call in to get updates and was bluntly advised, “No we only allow one family member to call in to get updates.” Although Karri understood the protocol, she wished it had been a different response. This narrative describes the feelings and emotions experienced by Karri, along with what the Middlesex Health did to put people before policy to reduce the suffering for Karri and provide family-centered care.
This article is associated with the Patient, Family & Community Engagement lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework. (http://bit.ly/ExperienceFramework)
Savino T, Crispino K. Is this really happening? Family-centered care during COVID-19: People before policy. Patient Experience Journal. 2020; 7(2):13-16. doi: 10.35680/2372-0247.1480.