In his article, Coronavirus requires physical distance in end-of-life care. But we won’t let isolation prevail, Rev. Thomas Ryberg, a chaplain resident at Albany Med in Albany, New York, writes:
“I join those who prefer to say “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing,” because I am not ready to concede that social connection is lost to the coronavirus. Far from lost, social connection remains essential to our wellbeing. Even in these most challenging circumstances, I am humbled every day by the combination of skill and heart brought by my colleagues at the hospital. It is sometimes breathtaking the way that life is uplifted and our human connection to one another is able to flower even in the bleakest of circumstances.
Even at patients’ time of dying, I have tearfully beheld the gentle care given by nurses who gown up and tend to the final moments of their patients with soothing words, songs, and touch. Paradoxically, when we accompany one another to the point of death, life itself is affirmed. One ICU nurse put it this way: “I’m present with them. I’m in the moment with them so that they are not alone.
We are honored to serve you and your loved ones even in the hardest moments, and whatever adaptation becomes required of us in the time ahead, we will never allow isolation to carry the day.