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Family caregivers traumatized by COVID lockdowns that limited access to those in long-term care

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Family caregivers suffer from “common ailments” as a result of COVID-19 blocking that prevents them from seeing and caring for their loved ones in long-term care settings, a new study by the University of Toronto’s Charlene Chu write.

In a study recently published in Journal of Applied Gerontology same to you International Journal of the World Health Organization, Chu, an assistant professor in the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, and author Vivian Stamatopolous of Ontario Tech University interviewed family managers in Ontario and British Columbia. They found that the lack of technology, infrastructure and planning in it long-term care facilities it is difficult for caregivers to take good care of it settlement.

“This nightmare turned out to be a reality for many people relativesChu said, “They are already full of guilt that they should be taking care of their relatives, and now they are required to testify about the disappearance of their relatives and their detention like prison, which added to their own lack of support. in the situation. . “

The study provided a comprehensive list of research and development plans and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Ontario and BC, the most difficult to publish English provinces with respect to COVID-19 infections and outbreaks in long-term care.

Video calls — which were introduced to help caregivers keep in touch with residents — were a bad face-to-face replacement after a visitor was limited access, the researchers found. Family caregivers cannot help staff bathe, feed or disturb local residents.

“What we found in our study was that the use of technology is not a viable option for most EFCs [essential family caregivers] and residents of the area, ”said Chu. Most homes do not have Wi-Fi for residents or enough bandwidth for accommodation video call in addition to all the regular programs that make homes work. “

Through focus groups, Chu and Stamatopolous have found that caregivers always describe their experiences of navigating long-term care policies during a disaster as weak. When it comes to access to technology, they have noticed that there are some problems. Video calls are canceled or canceled in the last minute, or residents are not wearing their glasses or hearing aids, ruining the relationship. Phone calls are also limited by the length of time because staff are usually required to assist.

As a result of their long separation, Chu said residents of the area and their caregivers have suffered permanently. Residents reported experiencing anxiety and a decline in physical and cognitive function. Caregivers say some of their relatives have lost the ability to use their hands, walk or talk. In addition, caregivers experience symptoms associated with anxiety: weakness, sadness, guilt and fatigue.

“In codeing experiences with EFCs [essential family caregivers]it is clear to us that they have suffered a general setback based on their imagination and mental response, “said Chu. guardians. “

Chu said the EFCs in the study all agreed that staff in long-term care homes were doing their best but were overwhelmed by the large number of staff. Relying on the department in the first place to fill vacancies due to COVID-related shortages has left many of the staff unrelated to their residents or their EFC, and all of these issues are compounded by the fact that which many study participants considered as lacking. Compassionate interactions with long-term care staff and administrators.

“In both studies looking at the province, we can see that the relationship between EFCs, residents, and long-term care workers is damaged by these locking policies,” Chu said. “The experience has led to distrust in LTC [long-term care] section and the power of their government to provide oversight. We can have generations of EFCs who will suffer for a long time for this injury, and who will never consider joining in for a long time on their own after seeing what happened to their loved ones. “

Chu said the relationship will need to be repaired and, at the operational level, staff in long-term care will need to use a trauma management system while dealing with EFCs. is injured, and the partnership is trying to restore a safe and strong environment, ”Chu said. “It’s something the EFCC deserves.”

Chu’s final study and her team in this series will look at the impact of changes on visitation policies – both physical and external – with the aim of understanding how these different policies have impacted EFCs.

“I also hope that our work, politically, will prevent that from happening again,” Chu said. “EFCs should not be prevented from visiting LTC homes to provide essential care such as feeding and repairs. As part of the Ontario residents’ rights bill, long-term care households need access to family care, and EFCs are the providers of such care. ”


Family and friends are invisible employees in long-term care


Learn more:
Charlene H. Chu et al, Poor and Loss Connection: A Key Experience of Family Caregivers Using Technology with Family Life in Long-Term Care Homes during COVID-19, Journal of Applied Gerontology (2022). DOI: 10.1177 / 07334648221081850

Charlene H. Chu et al, “It was the worst thing I have ever done in my life”: trauma and the role of loved ones in long-term care during the COVID-19 disaster in Canada, International Journal of the World Health Organization (2022). DOI: 10.1080 / 17482631.2022.2075532

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University of Toronto

hint: Family care workers injured by COVID lock that limits access to those in long-term care (2022, July 8) were recovered on July 8, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com / news / 2022-07-family-caregivers-traumatized-covid- kulle-kulle.html

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