Manager and CEO of Rafik Al-Hariri Governmental University Hospital (RHUH) Firass Abiad confirmed on Twitter that a patient infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19) tried escaping the hospital on Sunday, March 15th.
“Yesterday, one of our #Covid19 patients tried to run away. He was stopped before he could leave, and gently convinced to go back,” Dr. Abiad wrote in his tweet.
He explained that “patients in isolation are under severe mental stress” and that is a matter that needs addressing. “In addition to ICU beds and ventilators, we should address the mental wellbeing of our patients.”
“At RHUH, patients are provided with high-speed internet, multichannel TV, and are visited at least twice daily,” he pointed out, “yet, they are away from the comfort of their homes and the human interaction with loved ones. They might stay in isolation for weeks.”
According to Dr. Abiad, the National Mental Health Programme Lebanon is helping by launching a program, with many volunteers, that provides consultations through video conferencing, and other stop-gap measures in support of the mental wellbeing of COVID-19 patients.
Yesterday, one of our #Covid19 patients tried to runaway. He was stopped before he could leave, and gently convinced to go back. Patients in isolation are under severe mental stress. In addition to ICU beds and ventilators, we should address the mental wellbeing of our patients.
RHUH CEO explained that the program also addresses the hospital’s staff as well: “Working in a high-stress environment, away from loved ones, can lead to burnout. The program conducts frequent interviews with our staff to detect early signs and prevent burnout.”
“Every cloud has a silver lining. We at RHUH have learned a lot, and the crisis is still in its beginning. Key concepts in providing better care: systems response, agility, and taking care of the staff. Occasionally we fail. We learn the lesson, and we move on.” Dr. Abiad concluded.
According to recent research published in The Lancet by the Department of Psychological Medicine in London, “Most reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, and anger.”
The same research found that stress factors included longer time during quarantine, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma.
People have been complaining about home-quarantine that, in most cases, is being held in one’s own environment and with family members who usually support each other.
It isn’t the case with patients quarantined in hospitals, who are left without family support in a strange environment.