“It broke our hearts to see how family members could not say goodbye to their loved one”. This sentence pronounced by Francisco Puñal Rueda, supervisor of the Functional Area (SAF) of Medical Services of the University Hospital of Gran Canaria Dr. Negrín, perfectly sums up the feelings of the professionals of the hospital center in these last months of constant fight against COVID -19. At first, there were many people who could not say goodbye to their deceased relative because the protocols established it. due to the high contagiousness of SARS-CoV-2.
However, with the passing of the months and with the knowledge that was acquired of the pathology, “It seemed feasible that a space could be set up for family members to spend a few last minutes with their loved one with all the necessary security measures. For this reason, we decided to always leave two rooms prepared with the pertinent hygiene measures to fulfill this desire expressed by many families “, explains Puñal Rueda.
Room 36 on the right floor 4B and room 1 on the left floor 4B were the spaces designated in the Hospitalization area of the hospital center so that this little farewell was a reality; a grateful gesture for the relatives in the complicated moments that they have had to live. Properly equipping yourself with the advice and support of the center’s professionals to comply with the relevant safety regulations is a priority to be able to accompany the family member in this process. Also in the area where critical patients are found, family members are offered the possibility of accompanying their loved one in their last moments. “When all this began, a family asked us, please, that they be allowed to say goodbye to their relative. In addition, it happened that the woman was also admitted to the Hospital. From then on, we began to realize that that it was a situation that we were going to encounter more often, so it was necessary to offer a solution, “says Francisco Puñal.
The pandemic motivated by COVID-19 has Open the debate among the experts regarding the need to promote the humanization of healthespecially in these moments of intense health, economic and social crisis. The accompaniment of the patient in the final phase of his life is one of the fundamental pillars on which this process of humanization is based, which is also part of the objectives of humanization and closeness to the patient established by the Canary Islands Health Service ( SCS).
Experts agree when stating that COVID-19 has become a reality capable of emotionally blocking the human being who feels it as an intense threat. For this reason, ensuring that at least the patient does not die alone but surrounded by the people who love him is a “very important step that has also helped us, the professionals, a lot because it was very hard to see the suffering of these families “, highlights the supervisor. The change in the criteria that existed initially and that currently allows family members to have one last contact with their loved one is, in the opinion of Carmen Batista, psychologist at the Palliative Medicine service of the Dr. Negrín Hospital, “fundamental for families because you are allowing them to close a cycle of their life. ” Facing the death of a family member in any circumstance is always a complicated process, but doing so surrounded by current circumstances is even more painful.
The University Hospital of Gran Canaria Dr. Negrín is a pioneer in the implementation of palliative care in the Canary Islands. Since its inception more than 30 years ago, more than 25,000 patients have been cared for. During the past year 2019, specifically, the Palliative Medicine service of the hospital center treated more than 800 patients in its Hospitalization Unit. The farewell is part of an anticipated grief that makes the situation a little less painful for families who have lost their loved ones due to coronavirus infection in recent months. The professionals of the Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria Dr. Negrín insist on the need to continue working on the approach to the care and care of the sick person in all its dimensions, including their last moments where the warmth, support and goodbye of their families comfort them at the end of their lives.