We know many of you have questions regarding COVID-19, so The Arc of Evansville reached out to leading health professionals in the community to help answer some of your questions.
What should families/caregivers of people with disabilities know about COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a challenging time for all of our patients, especially those with special needs. Patients with multiple co-morbidities like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, are at increased risk. We are doing everything we can to still deliver the best care possible. We have taken several steps to help ease our patients’ concerns during this difficult time. We have video software available to communicate with those that are hearing impaired through sign language. We are also frequently calling family/caregivers with updates. Staff helps patients talk with family/caregivers using video technology such as Zoom or FaceTime.
What is the testing process like?
The testing process involves using a swab (like a long cotton swab or brush) to collect a sample from the back of the nose. The test is then sent to the lab to be processed. For patients in the hospital, the test result is usually available in a few hours.
If the individual must go to the hospital, may a parent/guardian/caregiver accompany them to the hospital? While hospitals are not allowing anyone with patients, will there be any exceptions made for people with intellectual disabilities?
Currently, visitor restrictions are still in place. We understand that this is particularly challenging for patients with intellectual disabilities. We are frequently calling and updating patient/guardian/caregiver. We are also working with the patient to talk directly with the parent/guardian/caregiver using video chat services like Zoom. We are doing our very best to accommodate our patients’ needs and we continue to review our policies and procedures regularly.
What provisions does the hospital have for communications with non-verbal individuals?
We have video capability for patients who communicate with sign language. We also try other modalities like writing on a white board or using pictures.
What information should families gather and send in with the patient if they may not enter the hospital?
We ask that families send a medication list and an allergy list. We would also like to have contact information so we can contact you and keep you up to date. We also ask that parents/caregivers provide information about certain food preferences/aversions, comfort items, routines, etc. that may help nursing and care staff in caring for your family member.
If a loved one does not have COVID-19, but needs to be hospitalized, what should their loved one expect when they come into the hospital and aren’t able to have someone with them to communicate and/or be an advocate for them?
While we understand the frustration of not being able to visit a loved one in the hospital, we are doing our best to keep the patient and our staff in communication with the patient’s family. We have nurses dedicated to making sure that patients are able to communicate with their family regularly. They are calling and updating families for patients as well. We have embraced video technology and are providing that option so patients and families can remain in contact even while in the hospital.