Staying connected if your loved one is hospitalized due to COVID-19



A message from the Wellness Team, FNHA Office of the Chief Medical Officer

Hospitals have changed their guidelines for all visitors due to ​the pandemic, whether the visit is related to COVID-19 or not. These changes include restricting all but essential visits and doing COVID-19 screening of all visitors.

Because of this, we need to find alternative ways to remain connected to our loved ones who are hospitalized, fulfill our cultural protocols and responsibilities, and take care of our and their emotional wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No visitors" policies are in place to protect and prevent the very high risk of further spread. As restrictions may change over time, it is always a good idea to check before you go. Read about updated visitor guidelines in your region:

 Fraser Health

 Northern Health

 Island Health

 Vancouver Coastal Health

 Interior Health

Unfortunately, you may not be able to visit at all if your loved one is hospitalized related to COVID-19. You may not even be able to visit if they are in ICU or have been placed on a ventilator. Sadly, even loved ones who are journeying to the spirit world may not be allowed to receive visitors. Ask the health providers taking care of your loved one what the policy around visiting is at their facility.

Staying connected if you're not able to visit

Not visiting a loved one in hospital is the complete opposite of our usual way of doing things as First Nations people. Yet, it is our way to take care of each other and take care of ourselves during difficult times, as we have done for thousands of years. During COVID-19, taking care means physically distancing and breaking the chain of transmission.

Staying connected looks different in the context of physical distancing. Here are some ideas on how to do this:

 Use technology to share messages, songs and love.

 Pray and use ceremony to honour your loved one who is hospitalized and to take care of your own spirit.

 Designate a family spokesperson who will be the link between the person who is hospitalized, health providers, other family members and loved ones.

 Ask if the family spokesperson can call the hospital each day for an update to pass along. Ask the hospital when would be the best time for a daily phone call.

 Leave the family spokesperson's phone number with the hospital staff in the event there is a change in condition.

 Ask hospital staff if there is a process for family to leave “care packages" and if there is anything that cannot be brought into the hospital (e.g., plants and flowers).

Remember, anyone in BC who has been in close contact with a loved one who has COVID-19 must self-isolate for 14 days. ​You may have been exposed to the virus and are at risk for developing COVID-19 and passing it on to others. Learn more about self-isolation here.

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