In Support of Healthcare Workers
COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on our all of our lives, creating upheaval and drama as we try to cope with our new reality. We also know that some groups are specifically vulnerable, either to the virus itself, or to the complications that come from dealing with its effects on our society. There is, however, a group who must deal with both. A group that has been discussed a great deal in the news, and needs our support more than ever.
Healthcare workers are constantly dealing with COVID-19, isolation, stress, and uncertainty on a constant and much more intimate basis than the rest of our community. Additionally, while the reports of illness and death are mostly second and third hand accounts to most of us, those in health care have seen it repeatedly on a near daily basis. They need our support and our understanding. Here are some ways that could be done.
The amount of shortages that we have seen in society has ranged from the essential to the ridiculous. These same deficiencies are present in hospitals, and their pleas for assistance has garnered national attention. As we gain access to those materials, take an inventory of what you need and consider sending the rest to healthcare.
Protective equipment such as face masks and disposable gloves are in the highest demand in medical facilities, along with hand sanitizers and other cleansing products. Contact the department of health or your local medical center to find out what items they need most. Monetary donations to nonprofit or volunteer groups attempting to treat those infected are also a valuable contribution.
Following the mandate to stay home and keep safe distances from each other in order to limit the spread of this virus is undoubtedly the most beneficial thing that can be done for medical personnel and the community as a whole. The better we are able to follow these guidelines, the fewer who will be infected, the less of a burden we will be on the medical system, and the faster this crisis will pass.
However, COVID-19 isn’t the only medical condition we have to worry about. Despite the prevalence of the disease, there are still other infections, diseases, conditions and injuries that require attention. We don’t want to be an added burden on hospitals, and we certainly don’t want to risk exposure to the coronavirus, but medical problems are still a risk we run in our everyday lives. Fear of contracting COVID-19 can dissuade people from seeking medical assistance, thus worsening an otherwise treatable condition. As with obtaining groceries or other essential items, it is best to exercise caution, but do not be overly cautious should the need arise. Now is the perfect time to learn when to go to the Emergency Department, when to see your primary doctor, and when to treat your condition at home.
Understanding the environment of an urgent care or even your doctor’s office can be a big step in keeping yourself and the people around you safe. Such locations are usually small, intimate rooms with not a lot of open space between doctors, nurses, and patients. Take some time before you go to protect yourself in such an environment. Better yet, get the information you need without leaving your house. Medical experts are making themselves more and more available online to communicate with patients and provide advice.
Mental Health and Support
Talk to any medical professional working in a hospital and they will tell you that the stress of their daily working environment is on a consistently high level. The significantly higher number of patients means the staff are constantly working at a higher intensity. COVID-19 also requires patient isolation, which creates a host of specific protocols and emotional strain for both the patients and the staff. This is where the protective equipment shortage becomes an active concern, for medical staff are constantly worried about unknowingly contracting the disease and bringing it home to their families.
Conversations with medical professionals and those close to them show just how much strain this is having on their lives; softened only by the knowledge that their work is vitally important to those they are helping and to the community as a whole. But unfortunately, they are often met with criticism or utter disregard by that very community; members of which either ignore or downplay the seriousness of this pandemic despite the information given by those who see it on a daily basis.
The major thing that the medical community needs is support. While the overall strain and fears associated with their occupation cannot be lessened until the virus is effectually dealt with, words of encouragement can bolster their morale and keep them going. Whether it be to a nearby hospital, your physician, or a friend who works in healthcare, send them a message saying how grateful you are for their dedication and sacrifice. Make it as personal as you can, so they can really feel your heart and honesty.
Don’t just say you support their efforts, participate as best as you can. A phrase that has been going around lately is that “healthcare is not the first line of defense for this disease, we are.” By taking this pandemic seriously, restricting our travel, and keeping apart as safely as we can, we not only keep ourselves healthy, but we lessen the burden on healthcare and make this crisis easier for them to bear.
If you don’t understand and want to understand what is happening, take some time to ask a healthcare worker yourself. It will be informative for you and stress relieving for them to have them tell their story. Make sure you listen to them, and realize that their experience is a truly unique one. We are all experiencing a unique time in history, but those in healthcare are the ones who see this disease for what it is and what it can do on a daily basis.
For more information check out this link.
For ways to help, check out our COVID-19 resources page.