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Staying connected with a hospitalized loved one

A woman in a hospital bed video chats on a smartphone.

Nov. 27, 2020—In normal times, hospitals welcome visitors. Loved ones are powerful medicine for anyone who is ill or injured. But since COVID-19 is so highly contagious, many hospitals are discouraging visitors during the pandemic.

As a result, you may not be able to see a hospitalized loved one in person.

But this doesn't mean you can't stay connected. Here are ways to stay in touch and show how much you care:

Reach out with a phone call or video chat. If you can't be at your loved one's side, these can help both of you still feel close. You might want to include other people who matter to your loved one in these talks too. That's more support for your loved one. Ask the hospital staff if they can help set up these phone and video visits.

Text notes of encouragement. Send your own thoughts or share a hopeful or inspirational quote. Every text says, "I'm here for you."

Drop off reminders of home. Photos, a favorite coffee mug or even a local paper can help personalize a hospital room and give your loved one the comfort of familiar things. But check first before trying to leave anything at the hospital, in case it's not allowed.

Lend a hand. Offer to help the person's family while they're in the hospital—for example, by picking up groceries or medicine. But don't forget social distancing.

Start a fundraiser. If medical bills are yet another stress for your loved one, consider organizing an online fundraiser. That financial relief can help give your loved one some very important peace of mind.

If your loved one is sick at home instead of at the hospital, read up on these tips about how to care for someone with COVID-19.

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