First of all, you have to have a PCR test at the hospital to check for COVID-19 three days before your scheduled surgery. If it is negative, you can have your surgery as scheduled.
Alcohol gel is available everywhere around the hospital, at the hospital entrance of course, in all the corridors, and in the elevator lobbies. They also have it in the hospital rooms, and the doctors and nurses always use it when entering and leaving the room. If you go to hospital wearing a cloth mask, the reception desk will give you a surgical mask to wear.
On the day of the surgery, the patient’s support person has to wait in the waiting room. The support person doesn’t have to have a PCR test, but they do have to wear a mask. The doctor will talk to you after the surgery. If the patient is moved to the intensive care unit (ICU), they will arrange for you to briefly see the patient. Before you go into the ICU, you have to put anything you have brought with you into a locker and then wash your hands. After that, you can’t see the patient until they have been moved to a hospital room. Every day around five in the afternoon, the doctor will call to let you know how the patient is going. If he or she is in an ICU, you won’t be able to see them.
At the hospital where my family member was looked after, even the ICUs were like private rooms. Something that surprised me was that there was a TV in the room. The wall where the door was was glass and it had blinds. This lets the nurses see from the corridor if anything is happening inside the room. Apparently visitors used to be allowed to see patients in ICUs before COVID.
When the patient is able to be transferred to a hospital room, you will be contacted by the hospital, and you will need to complete some procedures. With private rooms, a support person is allowed to stay overnight in the room. Brazilian laws for the elderly give patients over the age of 60 the right to have a support person with them at hospital. However, the doctor might judge that the patient's condition means the support person may not stay with the patient. The hospital provides bed sheets, blankets, and towels for the support person’s overnight stay. Three meals a day are also provided by the hospital for the support person. In private hospitals, your health insurance plan may pay for a support person. Unfortunately, the current situation means that even though there are such laws, most public hospitals are too busy taking care of patients to be able to attend to support persons.
It’s normal for the support person to eat together with the patient in his or her private room, but COVID means support persons have to wear a mask the whole time while in the hospital and are told to eat their meals in the hospital cafeteria. Hospital cafeterias are smartly decorated, which makes them nice places to have a meal. Now, only one person is allowed to sit at each two-person table, so people have their meals without conversation.
When you are staying in hospital, a nurse will come around at 4:30 in the morning to check your temperature and so on. They come to the rooms numerous times a day, to take blood, give medications, check temperature, and carry out tests. The doctors’ rounds are in the morning. Breakfast is at 7 a.m., then there’s lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and a nighttime snack. A nutritionist comes once every two days, and a rehabilitation doctor comes every day. The rooms are cleaned every day.
Currently, only one person can be designated as a support person. The reason is to avoid lots of people coming in and out of hospitals. Visiting is not permitted, even in private rooms. Nowadays you can make video calls with your mobile phone, so even if you can’t visit, you can still see them, which is nice, isn’t it.
The day the patient goes home is a happy day, not only for the patient, but also for the doctors and nurses, I am sure.
Thank you very much!