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Communicating in a Healthcare Setting During COVID-19

This guide is intended to help patients, loved ones, and practitioners understand how to communicate through phone, facetime, and other virtual and online environments. This is especially pertinent during restricted access and visitation due to COVID-19.

Primary Family Contact

Icon of 2 message bubbles to indicate discussionIcon of 2 message bubbles to indicate discussionIcon of 2 message bubbles to indicate discussionIcon of 2 message bubbles to indicate discussion

Thinking about who will be the primary contact for your healthcare officials and how they will communicate information to other family and loved ones can help you be prepared in advance.

Things to Note When You are Admitted to the Hospital

Knowing the answers to these questions can help you communicate with your loved ones on where you are and how they can contact you. If you feel unable to keep track of this information it can be good to designate a family member or loved one to keep track of it.


 Icon of patient bed What unit are you in?


 Icon of phone with a plus symbol What is the number for the unit?


 Icon of handheld phone What is your bedside phone number?

We are indebted to Penn Medicine for some of the content listed here.

Personal Communication Devices

You can have a cell phone, iPad, or laptop computer to talk while you are in the hospital. Make sure you know how to communicate on this device. Things to consider:

image of a cell phone For a cell phone

  • Make sure you have the phone number of the person you want to communicate with
  • If you want others to be able to reach you easily, make sure your number is programmed into their phone
  • To video chat on a phone see the "For an iPad/iPhone and Facetime" section and:

image of an ipadFor an iPad/iPhone and Facetime

  • Does this device use Wifi to connect instead of a phone plan? Then you will want to make sure you tell the email associated with the device to those you want to contact you

image of a laptopFor video chatting on a laptop

  • Make sure the laptop has the software needed to communicate in the manner you agreed on
  • Make sure you know the account attached to that software (Example: If you are using Skype what is the patient's Skype name? Make sure they have your name too)
    • Possible Platforms to use