The extreme stress, uncertainty, and often difficult medical nature of global infectious disease outbreaks, such as Coronavirus (COVID-19), require special attention to the needs of healthcare personnel. Taking care of yourself and encouraging others to practice self-care sustains the ability to care for those in need.
Organizations should be considering, if not already in place, the utilization of EAP services, Pastoral Care or Chaplain services. Healthcare workers need extra emotional and personal support during times when there are increased unexpected patient deaths.
There are many resources available for organizations who may not have special services in place or available. If you have nothing; at least provide some avenue for healthcare workers (from EVS to Physicians) to have an opportunity to be able to share their thoughts, feelings and emotions before leaving the organization for home.
Other strategies for success include:
Ensure Providers are meeting their basic needs
Ensure Providers are taking breaks
Give Providers time and access to connect with colleagues
Provide a way for Providers and Staff to contact their family
Limit Media Exposure
Have time for Self-Check ins – this a is a time for self-monitoring of stress, sadness, difficulty sleeping, sense of hopelessness – talk with a peer or colleague.
Honor Service – remind staff of the successes – even if they are small, the feeling of fulfillment and service allows for staff to continue caring for needs of others.