Civil Protection

São João Hospital provides psychological support to people being treated for Covid-19 and their relatives

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Miguel Nogueira

The novel coronavirus outbreak can cause people to feel anxious. Aware of that, the University Centre of Hospital São João (CHUSJ) provides a team of nine psychologists experienced in handling crisis situations to support people who are being treated for COVID-19 and their relatives.

"They want to know if people at home are stable. The family dimension is very important.

They have doubts on what might happen to them. And there are patients that feel guilty for having transmitted the virus to relatives and friends", stated to Lusa Eduardo Carqueja, Director of the Psychology Service of the hospital.

"What we say is that the virus is to blame. There might have been some degree of reckless behaviour, but our duty is to explain that what is happening is the consequence of an unknown and highly uncommon situation", the director further explained.

At least 20 patients have requested or authorized psychological assistance so the team includes nine trained psychologists, who are already supporting patients with Covid-19 and their families. This number may increase if needs be.

The psychological support is provided by phone to prevent the need of reallocating resources and to avoid unnecessary contact. The professionals are working in coordination with the Infectology service of the same hospital, in the scope of a specific protocol established to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.

The novel coronavirus outbreak is generating stress in the worldwide population, so the World Health Organization (WHO) designed guidelines for support for psychological wellbeing during the outbreak.