Fear – The Driving Force

Angie SzumlinskiStudies

On October 21, 2020, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published an article on PSNet Patient Safety Network that patients are delaying or forgoing routine, urgent, and emergent health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the high risk of these behaviors and possibly an overabundance of caution by the general public, a cohort study was conducted that included patients admitted to one large US academic medical center to assess the incidence of hospital-acquired COVID-19 during the first weeks of the pandemic.

Among hospitalized patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and patients discharged after non-COVID-19 related hospitalizations, only two cases of positive COVID-19 cases were deemed to be hospital-acquired (nosocomial). These findings suggest that hospital-acquired COVID-19 was rare during the height of the pandemic and this may assist in reassuring patients who are delaying or forgoing health care due to concerns about transmission.

It is our responsibility as providers to do the right things for the right reasons and not put our residents in harms way, “first do no harm.” How many of us are not allowing the medical community to do their job when it comes to diagnosing and treating diseases commonly seen in hospital settings? Sure, we are all a little nervous; families don’t want their loved ones sent out to the hospital or even to a physician’s office for a consultation. It is our job to be the voice of reason, weigh the risk/benefit, and assist residents and families in making the right decisions. Fear is a driving force, however, knowledge is a bigger force. Share this information, stay the course, don’t put resident’s health at risk, and listen to the experts!

Stay well, stay safe and stay tuned!