Joycelyn Ghansah is a former Healthcare Organizer with a background public health, include reproductive and sexual health. When she's not freelance writing, she's transcribing interviews and researching ways to strengthen healthcare labor laws.
Looking for tips on how healthcare workers can safely stay connected to their families during COVID-19?
For both patients and healthcare workers meeting family members carry a certain risk i.e. infection of COVID-19. Hospitals have long developed protocols to keep patients connected to their family and friends who cannot be at their bedside. Organizations and hospitals have developed and educated clinicians on how to help patients stay connected during their last moments; including phone calls and video platforms. As healthcare workers, it may be difficult to stay connected with family along with shifts, overtime, and patient care becomes more and more needed.
Here are some tips to stay connected to your family during COVID-19
Phone calls will never go out of style because they keep you connected when you’re far away. Although difficult, making time to call is one way to keep in touch.
Tip to stay connected: Setting up and scheduling time on your calendar is one way to make sure you are connecting with your family. It may be hard with patient and staff shortages, but developing a call routine i.e 9 pm call time with your family and sharing how your day went, allows for consistency; which is difficult during this time.
Using platforms like Facetime, Zoom, or Skype to see your family is a great way to stay connected. Whether you’re talking about your day or holding a virtual dinner, seeing your family’s face can give you strength.
Thinking about having a virtual eating session? Try buying or cooking the same thing so it feels as if you’re at the table. Another idea is having a virtual movie night where you watch and discuss a movie together. You can eat and talk about your day. Also, sharing about your daily hospital life can help you distress from the day.
Creating interactive activities while you’re away can strengthen family relationships and enables you to stay connected. Developing coded messages or weekly quizzes are another way to stay connected. This is something to do, especially if you have elementary age children. Creating weekly family games or quizzes gives you something to do and talk about during your phone calls or Facetime.
Have you thought of developing a blog and blog about your experiences at work? What about creating a family blog where you and your loved one’s update daily or weekly on what’s happening? Using Word press, Blogger, Medium, or other blogging platforms, to stay connected online. You can post tidbits about your daily work life, add quizzes, or questions.
If it’s a family blog, leaving inspirational or sentimental notes under family post show that you care. You can post family quizzes or interactive arts and craft projects on your blog and have a “scoring” system. This will allow you to have something to talk about during your calls or Facetime sessions.
Alternative Tips: If you don’t have the time to blog. Consider using Instagram to stay connected. Taking pictures and leaving coded caption notes that your family understands. Pictures and captions let them know that you’re ok, you care and are thinking of them.
Care packages filled with mementos from home or your workspace is another way to stay connected. Whether your family drops off a package with your favorite snack and other comforts, packages can improve your mood and theirs. Receiving items can reduce stress and anxiety. Having photos can help you get through those tough days ahead. Separation can be difficult, especially if you aren’t able to visit family or go home. Having care packages made by family members can ease the separation.
Staying connected with family members is part of self-care. Whether you take 10 minutes out of your day to distress and connect with family members or share your daily routine via a blog, staying connected to your family is important; especially during this pandemic. While staying connected, you’re able to unwind from the day and also check in on those in your life, you get to check in on yourself and have others do the same for you; something difficult to do as you care for patients. Connecting allows you to regroup and refocus on what’s important; family, patients, coworkers, and yourself.
Hope these tips helped, let us know in the comments if you have any tips on staying connected during COVID 19.
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