Privacy, or the Lack Thereof, and Its Implications for Dignity in Mobile COVID-19 Testing
journal contributionposted on 2022-01-20, 17:00 authored by Jennifer Neely, Amani Eddins, Naomi Lesure, Danielle Dee, Raquel Real, Rebecca SingerRebecca Singer, Natasha CrooksNatasha Crooks, Randi SingerRandi Singer
Introduction: Chicago's COVID-19 Rapid Response Team (CRRT) is a decentralized, interprofessional group of nurses, residents, students, and faculty who provide free COVID-19 testing for those living or working in congregate settings (i.e., shelters, long term care facilities, prisons and encampments) due to their increased risk. Individuals within these vulnerable populations regularly experience stigma, a lack of privacy, and healthcare discrimination as they are often in low-income and underserved communities. The CRRT tests in settings that are necessarily large (cafeterias, meeting areas, gymnasiums, recreation rooms), and provide little physical privacy. Regardless of patient circumstances, respecting patient dignity is a professional standard of care, and patient privacy is consistent with that standard. Methods: Guided by trauma-informed care techniques, emancipatory nursing practice, and cultural safety methodology, student members of the CRRT initiated a project focused on expanding physical privacy protection for those undergoing COVID-19 testing. Conclusion: Though the introduction of a portable privacy screen started as an initiative to safeguard the dignity for underserved populations, this call to action implores current and future health care providers to prioritize the ethical treatment of those most vulnerable by advocating for patient dignity and privacy.