Hardly any medical providers expected they would one day need to care for patients outside their specialty areas, much less the hundreds, even thousands afflicted with a deadly and contagious virus.
Of course, this is what happened in early 2020. There was no special training to handle COVID-19, and even if there had been, very few healthcare providers would have had time for it.
Medical personnel who have not worked with COVID cases directly have dealt with this pandemic in indirect ways. Even this has affected their personal and family lives dramatically.
Medical Providers’ Mental Health and Stress
COVID has affected virtually all medical providers. Hardly any had time to prepare for COVID, but many were enlisted in the front lines, nonetheless.
The stresses brought on by the virus have been continuous during peak periods and in hot spots. Are there enough N-95 medical masks? Where are the ventilators we ordered? People are dying here, and if we get sick too, who will take care of all the new patients?
Working shift after shift has been exhausting, demoralizing, and heartbreaking. And most probably feel there are not enough sanitizing supplies in the world to stop them from worrying about getting sick or spreading the virus.
Protecting Self and Family
Good-quality medical supplies were scarce at the beginning of the pandemic. This was when medical centers and personnel were looking everywhere for medical face masks and other PPE. They had to protect themselves from the virus.
Many physicians, nurses, medical assistants, and others sequestered themselves from loved ones. They stayed in hotels or borrowed RVs. The last thing medical personnel wanted was to spread the dangerous illness to their families.
Providing Safe Care to Non-COVID Patients
The thoughts of many conscientious medical providers have gone to their regular patients. Many of these people are elderly or have chronic health conditions that make them especially vulnerable to COVID.
Patients needing help and the medical providers who would provide it are caught between a rock and a hard place. Should non-COVID Should non-COVID patients risk going to hospitals or clinics or stay safe at home with conditions that could be worsening without treatment?
We also wonder about Medicare and Medicaid providers, insurance companies, and public entities. How will they manage to keep up with the increasing demand for medical providers, medications, technology, etc.?
Making Life or Death Decisions
COVID patients sometimes fill hospital wards to overflowing. So anyone with a medical degree might be called upon to decide whether it’s time to shut off someone’s ventilator. Then, the machine is shuttled away to another sick person.
Medical assistants can only stand by to watch and assist the doctor or nurse decision-maker. The dying patient’s loved ones, of course, won’t be there.
The medical providers can hardly bear to watch this take place. They imagine it happening to someone they love—and dread that possibility.
Planning for Life and Work Post-COVID
When medical providers have time to take a breath, what do they think about? Maybe they wonder what will happen to all the COVID survivors with lasting and debilitating complications.
Should those patients receive new drug therapies? Maybe even medical marijuana—to relieve whatever pain or other symptoms they might be experiencing? Or perhaps they should get the COVID drugs given to President Trump to treat their complications.
Do you read the Healthcare Business Journal regularly? If you do, that’s great. We’ll be sharing a lot more news about the status of COVID-19 in the coming months.
Take care, and stay well!