By Larry Deal, Executive Director

A little over a week ago, my father was hospitalized and put on a ventilator. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, medics were unable to honor his choice of hospitals in South Florida and for ten days no outside visitors have been allowed into the hospital to see him.

My family’s story is just one of many playing out across the world as more and more people are hospitalized due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In many areas, hospitals aren’t allowing visitors to stay with adults who are admitted, due to an abundance of caution over the spread of virus. The decision makes good sense from a public health perspective – we all must understand the essential role we play in limiting potential spread – but it’s a pretty difficult experience when a loved one is ill and needs care. While my father’s health situation isn’t related to the virus, his care is being affected significantly by the pandemic.

Nothing is more essential than being able to communicate your needs in the midst of a crisis. If you or someone you care for were to need to communicate wants and needs without familiar supports in place, now is the time to create a backup communication plan. My sisters and I completed a Health Passport to have at our father’s side in this moment  and we encourage you to do consider doing the same. These documents have the power to humanize and illuminate those we care about and to express personal preferences in moments when those things can make all the difference.

As you continue to refine your safety plans during this heightened period, please consider including a communication document of some sort. Fill one out, keep it somewhere safe, and if you must seek medical attention, make sure it’s updated and at your side in case your usual supports aren’t. Oregon hospitals are doing what they can to honor choices in support and we recommend checking in with local hospitals to determine policies in your area.  Check out the communication resources we have pulled together in partnership with speech pathologist and INW board member, Corinne Thomas-Kersting. Huge thanks to her for this support.

If you have additional resources you’d like shared with INW’s customers, families, and networks, please send me a note at larry@independencenw.org. Thanks so much. I hope that you and your families are safe and well. If there’s anything at all we can do to support you, please reach out. We’re here.

Please visit www.independencenw.org/communication to find a healthcare passport for you or your family.

Essential Resources:

Stay connected by following us on Facebook or visiting us at www.independencenw.org/
If you know someone who should be added to our mailing list, please have them sign up here we’ll be sure to share information with them as well.

%d bloggers like this: