Local hospitals are adapting to the new normal of the new coronavirus. They are installing new facilities not only to prevent the spread of Covid-19 but to help critically ill Covid-19 patients embrace death with dignity.
After dealing with a spike of Covid-19 patients in Daegu, Daegu Catholic University Hospital on March 19 started to operate an end-of-life care room exclusively for Covid-19 patients and their families.
|The end-of-life care room exclusively set up for a critically ill Covid-19 patient and a guardian at Daegu Catholic University Hospital. (Credit: Daegu Catholic University Hospital)|
The move came after dying Covid-19 patients had to face death without seeing their loved ones because of the infection risk. Daegu Catholic University Hospital changed one of the negative pressure rooms to an end-of-life care room where a critically ill Covid-19 patient could say the last goodbye to a family member.
The exclusive room requires the patient’s family to follow guidelines to prevent Covid-19 transmission. Only one of the family members with no underlying disease can enter the room. Before entering, the family has to wear Level-D protective clothing.
The hospital provides additional education to tell the family to self-quarantine for 14 days after visiting the patient. Before entering the room, the hospital checks every detail of the family’s condition, including body temperature and history of having an underlying disease.
“We established the end-of-life care room for a dying Covid-19 patient because everyone deserves rights to face death with dignity. We wanted to comfort a patient who would otherwise die alone and the family,” an official at Daegu Catholic University Hospital said.
|The outdoor “Safe Meeting Room” for Covid-19 patients and their families at Eson Nursing Hospital in Ulsan. (Credit: Eson Nursing Hospital)|
A nursing home in Ulsan, a southeastern coastal city, introduced a non-contact patient visit service. Eson Nursing Hospital has been providing a “Safe Meeting Room” since March for patients and guardians who could not see their family for a long time, amid the banning of patient visits due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The hospital installed 11 meeting rooms in the yard to block the outside access to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The rooms have transparent, protective vinyl between the patient and the guardian so that they can have conversations.
Although the vinyl blocks contact, the hospital checks on the guardian’s travel history and body temperature to protect the patient. The hospital sterilizes the room after the visit so that the place can be safe for another visit.
For other Covid-19 patients who cannot meet families directly, the hospital also provides a video calling service. If the patient is not available for calling, a nurse makes a video to explain the patient’s condition and sends it to the guardian.
“We can’t go back to the time before the Covid-19 outbreak. We need a new system in the new era,” said Son Deok-hyeon, director of Eson Nursing Hospital.
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