Understanding and managing the effects of COVID‑19 restricted visitation policies on the families and healthcare providers of critically ill patients

Fiest, Kirsten M | $298,769

Alberta The University of Calgary 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

There is worldwide spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Right now there is no vaccine or cure for the coronavirus. This means that most people can get sick with the coronavirus. Many hospitals around Canada developed visiting rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save masks, gowns, and gloves. Some visiting rules do not allow any family members to visit a patient in the hospital. When a patient is in the intensive care unit (ICU), they might be too sick to make decisions for themselves. This means that their family members might have to make important decisions for them. If a family member is not visiting the ICU, they may have to make these decisions over the phone. Making important decisions over the phone may be hard on the family member and the doctors or nurses. Visiting rules are important to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save masks, gowns, and gloves. We aim to understand what effect these visiting rules have on families, doctors, and nurses. We want to know what support they need while these visiting rules exist. First, we will see which Canadian hospitals have visiting rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus. We want to know how many hospitals do not allow family to visit a patient in the hospital during the coronavirus outbreak. Next, we will talk with patients, families, doctors, and nurses about how hard it is to not have families visit a patient during their hospital stay. We also want to know if these new visiting rules caused any mental health symptoms in family members. Last, we will ask families, doctors, nurses, and hospital leaders what they think would have helped make these visiting rules easier. It is important that we understand how hard these visiting rules are on patients, families, doctors, and nurses. Our goal is to work with hospitals to improve how they support families, doctors, and nurses when visiting rules are in place.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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