How to Stay Connected During COVID-19

The global pandemic COVID-19 has caused a change in day-to-day life in the United States as people attempt to prevent the spread of the disease.

Schools have canceled in-person classes, sports leagues have canceled games, and restaurants and other businesses have temporarily closed or limited their operations. Many people are working from home. And social distancing efforts are keeping people away from large crowds.

Many hospitals have put visitor restrictions in place to protect the safety of patients and staff and to prevent the spread of illness.

Although restrictions can make it difficult to see a hospitalized loved one in person, there are ways you can still keep in touch with them.

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Communicating With Loved Ones During COVID-19

You might not be able to see a hospitalized loved one in person. But that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them.

More people are turning to technology to stay in touch with their loved ones during COVID-19. That practice may be especially important to show support to people currently in the hospital.

To support a hospitalized loved one during restricted visitation, you can:

  • Make sure your loved one has a device (i.e., smartphone or tablet) and charger.
  • Call or video chat your loved one regularly, especially at mealtimes or before bed. Include other family members and friends in these talks.
  • Remind your loved one to use online resources, such as those listed below, to stay active and engaged. Then, you can talk about what they’ve done or learned during your calls or video chats.
  • Help your loved one develop a bedtime routine. Examples include listening to music, relaxation techniques, or drinking herbal tea or warm milk.

If you need more tips, talk to nurses or other staff for ideas.

Resources for Patients Hospitalized During COVID-19 Pandemic

There are many online resources that might keep your mind active if you or your loved one is hospitalized and the facility is restricting visitors because of COVID-19.

From virtual tours to online learning, here are some resources you can use via a computer, smartphone, or tablet:

Online resources are provided for informational purposes only. UPMC has no affiliation with and does not endorse any of the companies or organizations listed.

Anyone with access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet and the Internet can access these sources. If you have a loved one in the hospital, watching the same TV show could give you something to talk about during one of your calls. Or, if you’re social distancing at home, it could be a bonding experience with friends or family – whether they’re with you or not.

About UPMC

A $21 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates more than 90,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.8 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.4 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $500 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to UPMC.com.