Assessment of the impact of patient/family video visitation on depression severity scores at a hospital-based skilled nursing facility




Robison, April Lynn

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Background: The COVID-19 global pandemic resulted in regulations severely restricting patient visitation in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF). Lack of family visitation can have a negative impact on patients such as loneliness, social isolation, and feelings of depression. Therefore, prompting this facility act to reduce the barriers for this, often fragile, patient population, at high risk for depression. Purpose: The purpose of this quality improvement (QI) project was to improve the resources provided by a hospital based SNF to prevent or lessen depression in patients, related to restricted family visitation, through implementation of a patient family video visitation initiative. Methods: This QI project used a before and after design to implement a technology-based patient/family video visitation initiative aimed at preventing or decreasing depression severity in patients cared for in a hospital-based SNF during the COVID 19 pandemic. Video visitation was implemented using an I-pad and the Microsoft Teams platform to allow for face-to-face visitation. PHQ-9 scores and patient/family satisfaction with video visitation were measured before and after the intervention. Conclusion: The initiation of a technology-based, patient-family visitation resource by the SNF resulted in patients scoring in the minimal depression category before and after the intervention, supporting the use of video visitation to prevent depression or worsening depression due to prolonged isolation of patients. The initiative illuminated the organizational and feasibility factors to be considered and mitigated when introducing new technology and processes into an already strained health care setting. Lessons learned and similar positive outcomes, can be expanded to many health settings faced with long lengths of patient stays where family members have regulatory, organizational, or personal barriers to visitation



Depression, Long Lengths of Stay, Skilled Nursing, Video Visitation