With COVID-19 infection rate dropping, some hospitals in the Western Cape are now allowing patients to receive visitors. Visits at health facilities have been restricted during the lockdown, to prevent the risk of infection.
These rules are now slowly being relaxed with the province sitting at a 91-percent recovery rate.
The restriction of visitors at hospitals has been taxing on the families of patients.
It has robbed those who have lost loved ones of the opportunity to say their final goodbyes.
“For families who have lost loved ones during this pandemic it’s been a triple tragedy. Of course the tragedy of losing a loved one, but also the tragedy of not being able to be with that loved one, in their final days, their final moments.,” said Dr Anees Ismail, Melomed Emergency Room Head.
Experts say saying goodbye to someone before they pass away is one of the most important steps in the grieving process.
“It helps the letting go process, it helps the grieving of the person who’s sick, it helps the grieving process of the people who are left behind and if it doesn’t happen grief becomes more complicated and harder.,” said Leigh Meinert, Hospice Paliative Care Association.
Melomed is now allowing patients who are at the end of their lives to receive one designated visitor.
These visitors will only be allowed in at certain times and will have to wear full PPE provided by the hospital.
“I think it will help the patient a lot to find lightness. Your closest relative can be there to hold your hand. It will be reassuring. For the nursing staff, it will be better because we’ll know who to talk to. We can then also discuss what would be best for the patient at the end of the day,” said Carmen Bartes, a nurse.
This isn’t the only hospital to relax its visitation rules. Other private facilities like Medi-Clinic have also opened up certain areas to allow non-COVID-19 patients to have at least one visitor during specific times.
Some state hospitals in the province are also allowing visitors for terminally ill patients, where it’s safe to do so.
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