Where's the discussion about isolation complications due to COVID-19?
This week has been hard.
A lot of the daily professional discussions I have are related to how research and data are shared more effectively and efficiently. This week I was even in a full-day meeting discussing how we might help accelerate how insights from clinical data are shared. As one might expect, examples naturally gravitated to the current crisis and COVID-19 research, response, and treatments.
But my mind was elsewhere…
Several weeks ago my mother was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia as a complication from COVID-19. Her physical ailments thankfully recovered quickly-clearly something to celebrate. But, a more troubling reality set in. She had been suffering from early dementia before the series of shelter in place orders, quarantines, and her required time away from home even after she had been medically cleared from pneumonia. Four weeks of being sequestered in her apartment followed by three weeks of nearly constant change in her location and the people she saw on a daily basis in the hospital and rehabilitation center have had a far greater impact on her than the virus has. Throw in that she left for the hospital so quickly that she didn’t have her glasses or phone with her, and the isolation was nearly complete. When she finally got back home this week, she was extremely confused and scared about where she was and what was going on to the point where she needs additional (uninsured) support.
We have to address the physical components of this unique virus. But, at least in what I read and in the research discussions that I’m privy to, we are not yet talking about the true impact of isolation on vulnerable populations - a potentially even more dramatic, long-term medical challenge if a meaningful change in care protocols doesn’t change soon.
What is your isolation story? What hopeful examples of addressing isolation in vulnerable populations have you heard?