I never knew that patients who are isolated have some psychological effects until I had Mr Xy who was placed on Isolation. He became very unhappy and asked me if he is dying. I told him no you are not dying. Then he asked ,Why do nurses and doctors come to my room dressed in a yellow gown or blue gown?”.I told him that he has a bacteria in him that is making him sick.This bacteria is resistant to so many antibiotics so the doctor is trying to fight the bacteria. And the doctor does not want this bacteria infection to spread around, so we wear Isolation gown to prevent the spread. That is all.I saw a tiny smile on his face. He was placed on multiple antibiotics. I can remember Vancomycin 1gm IV Q12hours,Zosyn 3.375gm IV Q8hrs etc.It is important for the health care professionals to explain that there are pathogens that are not wanted and not the patient (s)And to educate patient families and friends on the importance of precautionary measures in place to keep everyone safe.And the importance of wearing surgical mask and gown when they are in the room with the patient.
The Psychological Impact are huge and include.
1.They feel frightened. The fear of eminent dooms such as death. Educate patient on the importance of isolation precautions.
2.Rejection.Feeling of rejection is common but worse for some individuals.
3. Uncleanliness:They are served with paper trays, plates and spoons to minimize contamination. Patient feel unclean and withdrawn.
loneliness: Suffering from sensory deprivation and loss of self esteem. Nurses,families and friends spend less time with patient.
Finally Mr Xy was transferred from the Isolation room to regular room. He couldn’t wait to tell me the story. He was so excited that he ordered pizza and soda to celebrate. He told me his story and I reminded him what I told him in the beginning of his isolation.He is a good man.
It is important to discontinue Isolation precautions as soon as it ended.
So many studies have shown that keeping people isolated for a long period can be very damaging. The health care professionals, caregivers families and friends should be operating as a team during isolation to minimize the length of time in isolation precautions and the psychological impact.