Covid-19 has now claimed more than 110,000 lives in the United States alone, with more than 1.5 million active cases being reported officially. Right at the frontlines of America’s battle against the deadly pandemic are healthcare workers, and even 300+ of the brave professionals have lost their lives to the coronavirus as well. Amidst all the death and fear that surrounds them right now, it is only natural for despair, depression and anxiety to affect healthcare workers severely.
How Can Healthcare Workers be Helped to Cope with the Practical, Social and Psychological Impacts of Covid-19?
There are primarily three areas where action is needed to support healthcare workers and keep them both physically and mentally fit for the long fight ahead of everyone:
- Physical protection against contracting the disease
- Regular psychological checkups to see if anyone is in need of counseling
- Social approval, applause and appreciation to keep them from feeling isolated and unappreciated
Given that we are specifically discussing people who are in direct and constant contact with the virus in all its many variations, healthcare workers need National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) verified, physical protection equipment above all else.
Thankfully, American PAPR is donating 1 FELIX™100 respirator to healthcare workers free of cost, against every 20 that they manage to sell. The powered respirator has air-purifying properties strong enough to get rid of all contaminants including the coronavirus. With a PAPR100-N classification, they’re NIOSH approved for use by healthcare workers, who must directly work in infected environments, as well as for general citizens in communities where the spread of Covid-19 is high.
Being surrounded by hundreds of infected, suffering and dying patients all the time at work can take a severe toll on people’s mental health. The situation is further worsened by the fact that even their colleagues are being stricken down by the viral disease, with no assurance of them becoming better again. Finally, there is the lingering and quite practical fear of getting infected.
To cope with all that, psychological checkups on a regular basis should be conducted, be it via private or hospital organized means. If and when depressed, anxious and distressed healthcare workers are found, they should be immediately counseled so that an appropriate measure for dealing with the situation can be determined. Being mentally fit is as much a requirement for healthcare workers themselves, as it is for the patients who are under their charge for treatment and care.
Reports have been coming in from different parts of the nation where doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are being socially shunned and even ostracized or prevented from entering their own apartment buildings. Such activities are extremely detrimental to the morale of our healthcare workers if they feel that people are not appreciative of them putting their lives on the line for their safety and wellbeing.
Instead, citizens should actively take the effort to make them realize that their efforts are indeed appreciated by those around them. The simple acts of expressing gratitude via social media, phone calls, etc. can help boost the morale of healthcare workers.
Covid-19 is not going to go away anytime soon and that is the harsh reality right now. We will have to wait until a vaccine such as the AZD1222 can be approved and then mass-produced, which will take an indefinite amount of time. However, before that time is well and truly here, the various roles of healthcare workers will remain pivotal in improving the survival rates of those already afflicted with the virus. It is in all our best interest to keep these brave professionals as strong physically and mentally as we can, in order for them to cope with the horrors of a pandemic that has so far killed nearly half-a-million people worldwide.