With the worsening of the covid-19 pandemic in Brazil, the number of hospitalizations due to the disease has skyrocketed. In the State of São Paulo alone, more than 30 thousand people are hospitalized, of which 12.5 thousand are in ICU beds (Intensive Care Unit), according to information released by the state government. The moment also triggered the alert for the need for mental health care by family members of patients.
For the psychologist Talita Lobo, from InCor (Heart Institute of the Hospital das Clínicas of the Medical School of USP), it is important that the family maintains contact with friends and relatives, because strengthening ties can ease the feeling towards the hospitalized family member . It is worth mentioning that it is possible to do this through video calls and calls, without breaking the social isolation.
The specialist also assesses the importance of maintaining a good sleep routine, practicing physical activities – as long as respecting the care to avoid contamination by the coronavirus -, in addition to limiting time on social media.
“It is also important to reduce access to news associated with the pandemic, it is something that has been a source of much anxiety among my patients”, says Talita.
How to help the hospitalized family member?
For inpatients who can make use of cell phones, the guidance is that family members make video calls and send text messages, important allies that can help in the mental well-being of both the family and the hospitalized person.
The psychologist says that, in her visits, some patients report that they miss seeing family members, so eye contact, even if in a virtual way, is important. “At InCor we have a system of virtual visits that are geared towards patients who are without cell phones and we see how beneficial it is for the patient and the family,” he says.
On the other hand, Talita calls attention to the exchange of messages between the family member and the hospitalized person and recommends that negative information related to daily life outside the hospital should be avoided.
“It is important that the messages are reassuring and not referring to problems that the patient will not be able to solve while hospitalized, such as overdue bills, for example,” says the psychologist.
How to assist the patient after discharge?
After discharge, it is important that the patient feels welcomed back home, both receiving affection and affection, as well as help from family members in self-care. “The role of the family at this moment is to reinforce the hope of this patient and also to care for and keep him engaged in medical treatment”, says Talita.
In the case of people who were hospitalized in ICUs, the return home involves a process of physical rehabilitation, since hospitalization can cause muscle loss and difficulty in performing some movements.
“The family has a fundamental role in this recovery process, it is important to rescue the patient in the family dynamics, let him make decisions and participate in the active life of the family”, guides the psychologist.
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