The hospital in Barcelona has been taking some of its Covid patients to the beach as part of their treatment.
“IT’S one of the best days I remember,” said coronavirus patient Francisco Espana speaking from his hospital bed, facing the beach in Barcelona, Spain.
The 60-year-old has been treated for Covid-19 in an ICU at Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar (Hospital of the Seas) for almost two months. As part of his treatment, a doctor and three nurses took him across the street to get some fresh air and sunshine today.
Dr Judith Marín, a doctor involved in the trial, said it’s part of a programme to “humanise” ICUs, which the hospital had been experimenting with for two years before the pandemic hit Spain. “It’s important to keep in mind the emotional well-being of patients and to try to work on it in the early stages of the recovery,” she said.
The strict isolation protocols put into action when Covid-19 hit Spain in mid-March reversed months of efforts to integrate ICU patients with professionals in the rest of the hospital, the doctor said. Back in April, the hospital was operating several additional ICU wards and expanded its normal capacity of 18 patients to 67. Visitors were banned and visits to the beach were scrapped.
The programme restarted in early June and doctors said that even 10 minutes at the beach seems to improve a patient’s well-being. The team wants to take this anecdotal evidence further, and see whether such outdoor trips can help in the mid- and long-term recovery of Covid-19 patients.