How many times this year have you sat and said to yourself, “I would’ve hugged [fill in the blank] a little longer the last time I saw them”. Or on the flip side, “I could sure use a hug or human interaction without social distancing or a mask”?
When the year 2020 began, we were all excited to start a new decade. Many had resolutions and began planning the year away. No one thought the year 2020 would be the year of masks, goggles, gowns, and social distancing.
Unfortunately, it is exactly that with no end in sight. The question as a nurse is, “How can a nurse safely utilize physical touch with patients and families with so many unknowns with Covid-19”? A few barriers include masks, gowns, googles, isolation, fear of the unknown and that is just to name a few.
What can we offer?
As nurses, we offer a lot to our patients and their families. We are a source of comfort, knowledge, and healing. Our patients and families are vulnerable, fearful, confused, hopeless and alone. Let’s ask ourselves how often we have offered a gentle hug or partnered with intentional compassionate behaviors: a listening ear, heartfelt eyes, and/or undivided attention. Who remembers the back rub after bed baths we were taught to give a patient? When and why did this intervention leave our daily care plans for our patients, and more importantly why?