Hospital San Juan de Dios incorporates a mental health specialist to care for covid-19 patients

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The San Juan de Dios hospital incorporated a mental health specialist nurse into the work team of covid-19 patients so that more comprehensive care can be provided.

Viriam Mejías Padilla, director of nursing, says that isolation causes these patients to feel depressed because they are isolated, which makes a mental health approach necessary.

“They have no contact with the family, or with society when they are hospitalized, in addition the health personnel are all covered by personal protective equipment and they can only see their eyes, this generates suffering in these users,” added Mejías.

For her part, Ericka Badilla, a mental health and psychiatry nurse at the San Juan de Dios hospital, explained that the human being is body, mind and spirit, hence the importance of offering these patients comprehensive care.

Within the strategies Ericka works with the right hemisphere of the brain which is where the creative part is, stimulating the sensory component, for this she uses paints, crayons, among others.

“On paper they make a human figure, a tree, something symbolic that answers a generating question, how do I feel today? This allows them to express their feelings through something abstract such as a paint stain, and that’s how we begin to talk and strengthen the mental and emotional part ”explained the nurse.

According to the specialist “these patients arrive at the hospital very affected, not only in the physical part, for them being in the hospital is an uncertainty, they do not know if they will be able to overcome the disease, they do not have information about their family, everything that they It matters is outside the walls of the medical center ”.

Mental health sessions are group and individual and are held once a week in each classroom. The San Juan de Dios hospital has an average of 86 patients in covid rooms, which are not intensive care, and this allows them to interact.

Through this closeness they have been able to communicate with the family with video calls and have been able to bond with their children, grandchildren and even pets. In the therapies they perform relaxation techniques with instrumental music prepared for this purpose by the national string group Ébano.

They also carry out neurolinguistic programming exercises to better cope with the disease, approach pregnant women who also have covid so that they have a humanized delivery and work individually with patients who have complex underlying diseases and as well as covid-19.

“I am enough, it is one of the phrases that I work with patients, what it does is to program in the unconscious with what we really are, it is to activate the part of self-confidence, it is to feel valuable, deserving of all that is good,” Badilla explained.

For Dr. Ileana Balmaceda Arias, general director of San Juan de Dios, there is no health, without mental health, “the objective is to make the patient feel stable in her emotional part and this also helps her to assimilate better treatment and her situation current “.

“I love working with them, I try to take advantage of every minute, every day, and bring that grain of sand. They are all very fighters, I have a lot of empathy with them, all people for me generate something in my soul ”, concluded Ericka Badilla.

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