Creating Comfort and Connection in the Chaos

by | Jan 8, 2021 | Blog, Care, Community Professionals Perspective

There is nothing like the warm feeling of being in close connection with loved ones.  This is especially true during difficult times.  There is no doubt COVID has given us new perspective on the value of togetherness.

How do we find comfort in the chaos when we cannot share our lives at the same level and support each other for sporting events, graduations, funerals, weddings, hospitalizations, and birthdays?

Most things are easier said than done. From our experience at Scout Advocacy LLC and from documented experience of multiple healthcare professionals, there are solid pieces of advice to help us through. If you have a loved one in a hospital or who you fear could become hospitalized, consider the following tidbits of advice.

1. Be prepared ahead of a crisis with a smartphone with facetime capacity.  Practice using it.  Label it with name and phone number.  Keep it and two chargers in a designated colorful tote pouch.

2. Designate key contact person/spokesperson for your family member.  This is preferably the power of attorney or health care representative if one has been designated.  Have only one designated person per family making calls and inquiries to the hospital unit.

3. Decide how best for the spokesperson to distribute daily updates to the key family members who will then distribute to the rest of the family.  Be careful not to place all communication needs on the spokesperson but support them in their efforts.  Consider texts or apps available for this type of communication.

4. Ask the hospital liaison (often the assigned social worker) what can be expected in terms of communication from the hospital.  “How many times per day can I expect an update?”

5. Know who is assigned as the “patient representative” and who is the  social worker on your loved one’s unit.  Keep their number close.

6. Have a lead staff member write the spokesperson’s name and number on the whiteboard in the patient room and have them include, “Call this number when MD is in the room” so the designated person can be involved in daily updates.

7. Send regular mail consistently to your loved one in the hospital.  Send cards, letters, and pictures.  Include a note to the nurses to please hang photos around your loved one’s room and/or to keep the mail in reach of the loved one.

If you are experiencing separation from a loved one who is isolating at home, the following advice may also be of help:

1. Use smart phones with Facetime capacity and if needed set up socially distanced visits to train and practice.

2. Set up consistent frequent check-in times.  Well-being depends on knowing others seek our company.  A daily phone connection especially with Facetime can serve as a well check and be a consistent reminder they are not alone.

3. Use the time during calls and video chats to take an inventory of well-being by listening to voice quality, asking what is planned for the day, looking, and inquiring into bathing and dressing habits as well as what foods and drinks they are enjoying.

4. Give attention no less than weekly for a longer period of time to simply listening and reminiscing.

5. Be prepared to schedule medical appointment(s) if issues are noted during the contacts.  Many provider offices offer video visits.  Call ahead and find out what options your loved one’s provider offers.

6. Send deliveries of food, painting supplies, books, family pictures, artwork from grandkids, often as possible.  In this case, more is always better!

7. Watch movies, important current events or even celebrate holidays over video for longer periods of connection.

Be creative and proactive.  Reach out to Scout Advocacy if you have any issue staying connected.  We will be here to help.