Dear Hospitals, Your policies are killing the elderly. Not healing them.Imagine you get Covid. You feel horrible.

Priscilla Barnes

Dear Hospitals,

Your policies are killing the elderly. Not healing them.

Imagine you get Covid. You feel horrible.

You rest at home. You talk to friends on the phone, but remain in isolation. Although you’re alone, you drink your favorite tea, rest on your couch, read your favorite book, step out into the sunshine of your garden for some fresh air, and speak to friends via Zoom when the isolation is too much.

Then you start to improve. It’s a good thing because, as a nurse, you’re expected to be back at work within 5 days.

Now, imagine you’re a 79 year old. You’re taken to the hospital where you’re expected to improve. You’re put in a negative pressure room where no one enters freely. You’re placed in an unfamiliar and loud environment.

You’re unable to rest because of the anxiety of what is unknown. You can’t talk to your friends because you’re unable to reach the room’s landline. You’re unable to drink tea because you can’t get up to reach the grape juice that’s been open for 5 hours at your tray table. You’re unable to rest comfortably because you are concerned about your loved ones. You can’t read a book, all you have is a TV that you can’t hear what they’re saying. You have a window that looks outside to a garage. You Zoom call with your family once a day when it fits a nurses’ busy schedule, but you’re so tired it’s hard to stay awake.

Then you start to decline. And you remain in isolation. It’s been over the ten day minimum.

That’s what’s happening to my father currently.

In a specific case, my father had a stroke in 2019, leaving him unable to move the left side of his body.

He requires 24 hour care at home, he is never alone.

Now, since his hospitalization, he has been isolated and expected to fend for himself.

Covid is a horrible virus. The process is violent, especially on a body that is already so fragile.

But what my father has, that hospitals are refusing to promote, is his mental well-being.

Studies show isolation increases the risk of death.

Now, by “having my father’s safety as a priority” nurses are able to go into his room, gown-up, and go home to their families. Go to the grocery store after work. Live their lives.

What would it cost a hospital to allow a family member to do the same? To gown-up. To be with their loved one. To promote the healing that strangers cannot give.

Meanwhile, my father’s family and caregivers who are wanting to visit him must call from the sidelines. Beg to have someone help us talk to him. Watch as he declines in a way that is inhumane and could so easily be avoided.

You tell me. Are hospital policies improving wellness?

Would you want to be left alone without a hand to hold? When you can’t do anything for yourself?

Hospitals are not concerned with the well-being and healing of elderly patients. They’re concerned about how they look politically. And something needs to change.

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