Healthy Distractions for Improved Outcomes
Healthy distractions for patients hospitalized with medical illnesses are an important part of overall care. In addition to physical challenges, patients often face unexpected mental and emotional challenges during hospitalization. With the focus on patient-centered and whole-person care, taking into account a patient’s full history, living situation, family and social life as a part of considerations for treatment become more and more important. How can providers help with the less tangible aspects of patient care?
Offering Social Connection and Entertainment
Providing diversion and forms of appropriate entertainment and social connection for a patient during their hospital stay can have a profound impact on their level of participation in care, treatment and response. Depression, anxiety and stress about their hospitalization can create a domino effect of additional physical challenges for patients. Psychological stresses can manifest in very real physical ailments or create complications with existing illnesses. One way to support patients with a whole-person, more restful hospital stay is to offer them opportunities for healthy distractions with social connections, if their condition allows; video visits with family and loved ones; entertainment in the form of movies or games, and mindfulness content like video imagery and music.
“Medical events have emotional and psychological consequences.”
HCI asked Brett Dowdy, Psy.D., Chief of Psychological Services at Cincinnati’s Lindner Center of HOPE and Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, about the importance of offering diversion content to patients and the outcome it can have on their recovery.
Dr. Dowdy offered, “We know that medical events have emotional and psychological consequences. While we attend to the body’s recovery, we often neglect attending the mind, emotions and spirit of the client. In times of emotional distress, as hospitalizations often are, several evidence-based coping skills are beneficial. Clients often need assistance with self-soothing and healthy distractions. During moments of high emotional stress, it is challenging and often impossible to utilize more advanced coping skills.”
With HCI’s MediaCare platform and Interactive Patient Care Solution, you’ll find a full range of entertainment and mindfulness content to support a more relaxed and participative patient to support their emotional and psychological wellbeing during hospitalization. This can be particularly important for pediatric patients. Digital educational contentcan also help to alleviate fears about treatment or discharge. Soothing music, like that available from Chuck Wild and his “Liquid Mind – Musical Healthcare®” website, can be an important “silent” partner on your Care Team to help patients in calming nerves and relaxing to encourage healthy immune responses to the physical stresses of hospitalization.
Dr. Dowdy continues, “Offering clients a range of relaxing, inviting entertainment and relaxation options can improve their psychological well-being and ability to cope with the stress associated with physical illness. One of the gifts of improved emotional health is the positive impact it has on physical wellness and recovery from medical events.”