Isolation is a mainstay in COVID-19 management. With family members not allowed to stay beside patients in hospitals, getting to know their health status has turned relatives an anxious lot.

After a number of family members flagged concerns, authorities of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) have decided to share the information with them, on a daily basis.

Now, several family members of COVID-19 patients gather under a tree near the Rheumatology Block, where seating arrangements have been made, for updates on the health condition of those under treatment.

“No attender is allowed inside the wards. We realised that many family members of patients were anxious to know how they were. Some patients do answer phone calls or video calls but there are patients who are in respiratory distress and cannot speak over phone. Many relatives stand outside the block, waiting for updates on the patients,” said E. Theranirajan, dean of RGGGH.

To provide daily updates on the health status of patients, including their oxygen saturation levels, the hospital has put up boards outside COVID-19 wards with fewer patients.

The boards have the names of patients, in-patient numbers and dates of admission, along with the oxygen saturation levels (SpO2).

Updated thrice a day

“These boards are updated thrice a day, at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Relatives come and take a look at them to know the patient’s health status,” he added.

As over 100 patients are admitted at the Rheumatology Block, the hospital has made a seating arrangements for family members.

“We asked the floor nurses to make an entry of the health status of all patients, especially their SpO2 levels, in a book. They come down and meet the family members and explain the patients’ conditions between 8.30 a.m. and 9 a.m. every day. Many ask for the oxygen saturation levels. So we tell them if they are on room air, or if they require nasal oxygen or if they are on C-PAP machines,” Dr. Theranirajan said. As a result, complaints on not being able to get updates on the health status of patients have reduced in the hospital.

“During the rest of the day, they can approach the ‘May I Help You’ desk near the block. We have posted two volunteers and provided them a mic. They will call the nurses in the wards to get updates and inform the families. The desk functions from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” he added.

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