Supporting Healthcare Workers During COVID-19
May 5, 2020
As we continue to face the impacts of COVID-19, our healthcare workers are being challenged on a daily basis. They are on the front lines, risking their lives to care for--in some cities--an overwhelming numbers of patients. Not only is their physical safety in jeopardy, but also their psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Here are some ways that we, as family members, friends, and community members, can support healthcare workers in their fight against the virus.
Family Members and Friends
Our healthcare workers are facing uncertain, deeply troubling conditions that are unlike anything they’ve ever faced before. This is having significant impacts on their emotional and mental health. If your family member or friend is a doctor, nurse, hospice worker, first responder, or other type of caregiver, there are simple ways to offer your support. Be willing to listen if your loved one wants to talk about their feelings or experiences, but also be understanding if they would rather not talk about it. Sometimes they would rather leave their work at work, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Many healthcare workers and paramedics understand that there is a risk that they might die from COVID-19; thus many have begun drafting their own living wills. If they decide to share this information with you, be open to receiving it. Know that your loved one has taken an important step toward planning for a quality end-of-life, and that they most likely feel vulnerable at this time. Thank them for being open and honest with you, and including you in part of their end-of-life plan. For more tips on how to speak about advance care planning, The Conversation Project offers comprehensive toolkits.
In order to help our loved ones maintain their mental health, we can gently suggest mindfulness or stress reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, exercise, watching funny movies, and partaking in creative endeavors. Joining in on these activities can help our cherished healthcare workers feel supported, nourished, and loved during this chaotic time. If your loved one is religious or spiritual, let them know that you are praying for them, or take part in comforting rituals together. Remember that balancing our mental health is not just something that happens urgently or in crisis
, but rather should be continued long after the emergency caused by COVID-19 resolves.
For those wanting to support healthcare workers in their communities, there are plenty of ways to let you know that you appreciate all that they are doing for us in the midst of this crisis. If you are able, donate money to your local hospital so that they can purchase personal protective equipment, or donate to organizations such as Red Cross or the CDC Foundation. Donating blood is another generous way to help healthcare workers during such times of emergency. If you’re unsure about how to safely give blood, this article is a helpful place to start. Another great option to support healthcare workers is by sponsoring a meal for your doctors and nurses at your local hospital. Check with restaurants and shops in your community that may already be taking the initiative and looking for sponsors. That way, you’ll also support small businesses while showing your appreciation for healthcare workers.
One of the best ways to show your support is by expressing gratitude, either through a 7:00 pm applause session from your balcony, a socially distant parade, or a vibrant social media post. A simple “thank you” goes a long way.
Finally, one of the best things to do to support healthcare workers and first responders right now is simply to not do anything at all. If you are able, staying home and practicing social distancing is the absolute most important way to support those on the front lines.
If you’re still not sure why that’s important, read what flattening the curve means for healthcare workers
. Together, we can show our care for healthcare workers and stop the spread of the virus.