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A hospital in Barcelona offers beach trips to help COVID-19 patients

Source: Barcelona Metropolitan

According to the Associated Press, a hospital in Barcelona has started to take their COVID-19 patients out in the sun, with the goal of increasing their Vitamin D intake. The initiative began after a Spanish study, which was published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology on August 29, offered promising results. The clinical study demonstrated that administration of a high dose of calcifediol (Vitamin D), significantly reduced the need for ICU treatment of patients requiring hospitalization due to proven COVID-19.

This discovery inspired a medical team at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona to test if short trips to the beach across the street can help COVID-19 patients who have been staying in ICU for long periods of time.

One of the first patients that was taken to the beach was a 60 year old man named Francisco España. After almost two months of intensive hospital care, Mr. España was able to fill his lungs with the fresh air of a Barcelona beach front. Surrounded by his medical team, a doctor and three nurses who constantly monitored his vitals, he briefly closed his eyes and absorbed as much sunshine as possible.

Francisco España, 60, spends time in front of the beach near the "Hospital del Mar" in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

As stated by the Associated Press, the medical team is studying how short trips to the sea may influence the recovery of COVID-19 patients and others subjected to long and sometimes traumatic intensive hospital care. Dr. Judith Marin explained that the study is part of a program to “humanize” ICUs that the group had been experimenting with for two years before the coronavirus hit Spain. However, the strict isolation protocols that had to be adopted in mid-March when the pandemic started did not allow them to keep up with the program. As a matter of fact, In April the hospital was operating several additional ICU wards and expanded its normal capacity from 18 patients to 67.

As the COVID-19 cases decreased, the hospital restarted the program in early June, and the doctors have noticed that even 10 minutes at the beach seems to improve a patient’s emotional attitude and well-being. The medical team wants to record the progress to see whether such outdoor trips can help in the mid-and long term recovery of COVID-19 patients.

Although more studies need to be conducted, it is a great step to know that a dose of sunshine as Vitamin D can alleviate the emotional well-being of COVID-19 patients. Mr. España mentioned after his trip to the beach “It’s one of the best days I remember.”

Source: Associated Press


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