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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

Image of chat bubblesImage of chat bubblesImage of chat bubblesImage of chat bubbles

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

Things to Note When Your Loved One Is Admitted to the Hospital

Icon of a hospital bed to display ward What unit are they in?


Icon of a phone with a plus to indicate ward number What is the number for the unit?


Image of a phone to indicate personal phone number What is their bedside phone number?

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

Personal Communication Devices

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

image of a cell phone For a cell phone

  • Make sure you have the phone number
  • If you want them to be able to reach you easily, make sure your number is programmed into the 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 know the email associated with the device

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