Boosting Morale for Health Care Workers During COVID-19

Healthcare workers must be supported as they man the front line of the struggle against the novel coronavirus.

The COVID-19 pandemic is straining healthcare workers worldwide, the pressure on the global healthcare workforce continues to intensify. This pressure takes two forms. The first is the potentially overwhelming burden of illnesses that stresses health system capacity and the second is the adverse effects on healthcare workers, including the risk of infection.

  • At the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Chinese officials have reported that nearly 3,400 healthcare workers have been infected, with 22 deaths

  • Extensive protective gear such as gowns, gloves, face shields, and respirators is the best way to safeguard clinical staff who treat coronavirus patients.

  • Meticulous hand hygiene and surface decontamination can play a pivotal role in stopping the spread of the coronavirus in healthcare settings.

Following are the six kinds of measures which protect, Motivate, and support healthcare workers and their families:

1. Infection Prevention: Protective gear is essential to prevent healthcare worker infection when treating COVID-19 patients, The CDC recommends the use of personal protective equipment including a gown, gloves, and either an N95 respirator plus a face shield/goggles or a powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR).

If N95 respirators or PAPR are not available such as in many outpatient settings, medical masks could be effective protection, In a study of outpatient healthcare personnel in diverse ambulatory practices, medical masks applied to both patient and caregiver provided effectively similar protection as N95 masks in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza among caregivers who were routinely exposed to patients with respiratory viruses.

2. Emergency department protocols: EDs are on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic and crowding is a concern for person-to-person contact among patients with respiratory symptoms. “Placing a facemask on the patient at arrival, supplying tissues, promoting cough etiquette, and providing for hand hygiene and surface decontamination are all important steps.”

They say urgent actions should be taken for patients who present at EDs with COVID-19 symptoms, which are primarily fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Those steps include rapid triage and placing the patient in a well-ventilated space away from other patients until an isolation room is available.

3. Hand hygiene and surface decontamination: Healthcare personnel must focus on meticulous hand hygiene, avoiding contaminating workspaces, The COVID-19 virus has been shown to live on surfaces for hours or days, so healthcare workers should disinfect personal items and workspaces such as cell phones and keyboards. "It is sensible for environmental services workers to increase the frequency of cleaning of commonly touched surfaces such as light switches, countertops, chair arms, escalator railings, elevator buttons, doorknobs, and handles.

4. Healthcare worker precautions: "Healthcare workers must self-monitor, report signs of illness, and not engage inpatient care while exhibiting infectious symptoms. Many healthcare workers have conditions that elevate the risk for severe infection or death if they become infected with COVID-19, so organizations will need to decide whether such workers, including physicians, should be redeployed away from the highest risk sites.

The healthcare organizations should consider restricting the travel of healthcare workers to reduce the risk of exposure and to keep clinical staff close to work and available

5. Protecting Family Members: For front-line caregivers, the concerns about transmitting the virus to family members will need to be addressed.

Communication with healthcare workers about ways to protect family members, including separation of living spaces and protocols for infection control after shifts such as removing and washing clothes at home. "The focus should be on supportive conversations, clear guidance when recommendations exist attempts to minimize misinformation, and efforts to reduce anxiety.

6. Leaderships: With the COVID-19 crisis likely to stretch over weeks or months, the leaders of healthcare organizations should engage healthcare workers to address their concerns.

“Transparent and thoughtful communication could contribute to trust and a sense of control. Ensuring that workers feel they get adequate rest, are able to tend to critical personal needs (such as care of an older family member), and are supported both as healthcare professionals and as individuals will help maintain individual and team performance over the long run.” Hospital panelist can create a WhatsApp group includes healthcare workers from lower to higher level, and used it to address the fear, Complaints, issues of the healthcare workers. So it serves as a Counselling platform that motivates the healthcare workers serving in a risky zone.

So this way the Hospital management can motivate their employees by giving them care, promises, production, and facilities.

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• Maintain appropriate working hours with regular breaks for staff. Consider identifying a location where staff can easily
access during their breaks for relaxation and self-care (include self-care materials).
• Make training in Psychological First Aid available to ensure managers have the knowledge and skills to support their staff.
• Encourage managers to regularly and supportively monitor the well-being of staff by speaking openly about stress and ensuring staff are aware of available resources.
• Encourage managers to reinforce team cohesion and mutual support as way to maintain morale and well-being• Identify health care providers who are at higher risk of psychosocial stress and distress as result of COVID-19.
• Provide targeted information to ensure that targeted providers are aware of available psychosocial services that might be helpful to them.
• Review and ensure psychosocial tools and resource are contextualized to the stressors and concerns of identified groups.
• Ensure managers receive the necessary education and information to effectively support health care providers experiencing higher than normal levels of stress

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