Letter to Editor
Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran,
Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran,
Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran
Department of Psychiatry, Psychosis Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
As of December 2019, a new pandemic disease, called coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), is spreading rapidly around the world (1). On February 19, Iran reported the first case of COVID-19 infection (2). Similar to previous outbreaks of infectious diseases, anxiety, besides other symptoms, was a common finding in hospitalized patients in Qom, Iran, which was also reported in patient companions (3). The unexpected workload, alongside limited human resources, particularly the nursing staff, was a common problem in most hospital wards during the early weeks of the outbreak.
A few weeks following the COVID-19 crisis, a volunteer group of clergymen, trained for primary personal protective measures, replaced the patient companions in Nekooei-Hedayati-Forghani Hospital. After one week, the patients, nurses, and physicians were asked if they were satisfied with the presence of volunteer clergymen as patient companions. The results showed that 92.9% of patients were satisfied with the presence of clergymen, while only 2% were unhappy. Fear of disease transmission to the volunteered companions and others (particularly families) was the only reason for the patients’ dissatisfaction. On the other hand, the reasons for the patients’ satisfaction with the presence of clergymen were overcoming the feeling of loneliness, reduction of fear and anxiety, and promotion of spiritual well-being.