During non-pandemic times, the role of the caregiver for patients is extremely difficult. This is especially true for the caregivers of patients experiencing post-transplant delirium in extensive intensive care unit stays. During the Coronavirus pandemic, caregiver support of the patient is made almost impossible because the healthcare system is under stress from additional patients and constantly changing visitor protocols. Applying the recently published work on “Caregiver Types” found in Wittenberg, Goldsmith, Ragan, and Parnell’s (2021) Caring for the Family Caregiver: Palliative Care Communication and Health Literacy, the author describes the experience of attempting to care for a loved one during a “no visitor” policy time period in the Texas Medical Center during the Coronavirus pandemic. Because the author is a “Lone Caregiver”, the lack of communication with the patient during this traumatic experience impacted family communication patterns, family behaviors in the illness process, family expectations and roles for caregiving, family decision-making and uncertainty, and palliative care communication and health literacy considerations significantly. New communication technologies like FaceTime and texting were used to attempt to reach out to the patient, but they were generally unsuccessful even though the healthcare providers worked hard to support both the patient and the caregiver under difficult circumstances. In conclusion, this essay was a preliminary attempt to understand the various communication problems in the caregiver-patient relationship in an intensive care unit during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mater, Marie A.
"A Traumatic Tale in Texas: A Mute Patient and a Muted Lone Caregiver,"
Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine: Vol. 6
, Article 9.
Available at: https://repository.stcloudstate.edu/survive_thrive/vol6/iss1/9