Many people are not happy about the restrictions on visiting patients with COVID-19 in the hospital. For example, parents may not stay with their hospitalized children, and new fathers may not be in labor wards. Families may not visit sick or dying relatives. People cannot visit to comfort and support patients with physical or learning disabilities, mental health problems, or dementia. Many but not all hospitals encourage family contact through video conferencing and garden visits. With these restrictions, we lose an opportunity to collect important feedback from patients and their relatives about their experiences of care. It also limits shared decision-making about treatment, which is essential for good care. In some cases, hospital responses to COVID-19 have made health inequalities worse and infringed upon human rights. The COVID-19 pandemic is no reason to step away from person-centered care. Families are important in the healing process, and should be included to provide high quality, effective care to patients.
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