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Support of Patients Admitted with COVID-19 at Public Hospitals in South Africa by the Family Members

Author(s): Luhalima TR, Malwela T, Ndou ND, Ramathuba DU, Maputle MS, Mbedzi T, Netshikweta ML, Mafumo JL, Tshililo AR, Shilubane NH, Mulondo SA, Netshisaulu KG, Raliphaswa NS & Maluleke M

Background: COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic fatal infection that affects all races young and old. According to the Disaster Management Act 2002 amendment of regulation issued in terms of Section 27(02), the Department of Health in South Africa restricted patient visits in all public hospitals.

Objective: To explore and describe the support of patients admitted with COVID-19 at public hospitals in South Africa by their family members.

Methods: A qualitative approach with a phenomenological design was used. The researchers used a random sampling method to select patients admitted with COVID-19. This study was conducted in the Vhembe district hospitals in the South African Province of Limpopo, in the four municipalities of Makhado, Musina, Thulamela, and Collin Chavani. The population of the study comprised patients admitted with COVID-19 in district hospitals in South Africa. A total number of 12 patients were interviewed using one central unstructured question interview. Ethical considerations were ensured throughout the study.

Results: The study findings showed that patients admitted with COVID-19 were not happy with the fact that family members were not allowed to visit them. Some of the patients expressed that COVID-19 was like a death sentence, because of the social distancing and uncertainty of the COVID-19 disease outcome.

Conclusion: Patients’ understanding was that the Disaster Management Act 2002 in place, of not allowing visitors in the hospital was appropriate, even though there was no support shown by the family members. According to the patients, it was a system to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection, however, it was a challenge to some patients not to be visited by their family members and was like they were abandoned.

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