UF Health ‘champions’ ease fears for elderly COVID-19 patients at risk of delirium

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – It was the last place in the world Patricia Fountain wanted to be: a hospital’s COVID-19 unit.

The 80-year-old resident of a Starke nursing home had been rushed to University of Florida Health Shands Hospital after testing positive for the novel coronavirus in early April. Fountain had believed she had a mild bout of flu. No big deal, she thought.

Now at UF Health, Fountain cried, uncertain what God had in store for her. “I told Him, ‘If you’re going to take me, then take me. But don’t let me suffer too much,’” she said.

A hospital can be a scary place for patients. Being hospitalized in a pandemic can be absolutely terrifying. Patients are isolated in a room, unable to leave or have visitors. Medical personnel are dressed in bright-yellow gowns and sky-blue gloves. Formidable-looking masks cover mouths and noses below face shields, giving caregivers the

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