The pandemic has placed high levels of stress and anxiety on communities and individuals in various ways, but having a loved one diagnosed with COVID-19 brings about additional worries and concerns.
One seems to count the days and play back in your mind when symptoms started, how serious the symptoms are, who else in the family or household may have been infected, what to do and what not to do…these types of thoughts and questions are all normal.
As we know, some only present with mild symptoms, some with none at all, but having a loved one hospitalised during this time can be particularly stressful and may create higher levels of anxiety. Not being able to visit your loved one and often relying on phonecalls for updates on their condition can leave one feeling rather helpless and detached from your loved one, in a time when we naturally want to offer physical gestures of love and support, such as a reassuring hug, or sitting by our loved one’s bedside just holding their hand.
Tips to help you cope when your loved one is in hospital:
- Maintain regular telephone contact with your loved one if possible.
- Use video calls or voice notes where possible, to make the contact with your loved one as personal as possible.
- Ask nursing staff to play voice notes or read messages to your loved one if they are too sick to manage a phone
- Take care of yourself: try to eat even if you don’t feel hungry, maintain fluid intake, if you are unable to sleep, take time to at least rest your body, talk about your thoughts and feelings with family and friends you can trust, acknowledge that your emotions are real in a truly stressful time.
One day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time if you need to.
-Written by Dianne Waddington (Head of Social Work)