Healthcare professionals are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, working exceptionally hard to treat patients and save lives.
Globally, the number of cases continues to rise, putting extra stress on hospitals and staff who are already struggling to cope. The pressure is worsened as many of the nursing professionals working to treat patients, are themselves becoming unwell, due to being exposed to the virus. Despite this risk, healthcare professionals worldwide continue to go to work, showing incredible bravery and dedication in their response to the pandemic.
Whilst it is easy to feel helpless in such uncertain times, there are ways that all of us can support healthcare professionals, to make their lives a little easier and ensure they are able to continue responding to this outbreak efficiently.
1. Stay home
Health workers around the world have called on people to stay at home to help support them. Keeping people inside their homes is one of the most effective ways of stopping the spread of the virus. In many countries, an official lockdown has now been enforced by the Government. This is an unprecedented measure, but one that is necessary to quickly control the spread of the infection.
We understand there are professions where key workers are required to continue, as their work is crucial to the COVID-19 response. At Vernacare, we supply critical healthcare products to the NHS and healthcare facilities internationally. It is vital that we continue to supply products that medical professionals need, to reduce the risk of infection transmission. From production to distribution our forces have been resilient, working hard to ensure we can continuously supply our key products to healthcare facilities across the globe.
In similar cases, where going to work is a neccessity, it is essential to ensure that social distancing is practiced in combination with good standards of cleanliness and hygiene, which includes frequent hand washing. Following these measures closely is important to ensure the spread of the virus is limited, and the stress on healthcare systems is subsequently reduced.
2. Volunteer to Support
Many governments are asking for volunteers to support their healthcare systems, by providing assistance to the vulnerable in society who are most at risk when leaving the house.
In the UK the NHS have asked for physically fit and healthy people to sign up as ‘Voluntary Responders’. These individuals will be helping to care for vulnerable people in the community who are unable to leave their home. The tasks will include delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments and regularly calling people who are on their own. The NHS received over 500,000 volunteers within 24hours of launching the NHS voluntary responders scheme. By helping the most vulnerable in society and ensuring that they do not risk contracting the virus, we can help reduce the stress on healthcare professionals.
Others have organised their own volunteering groups via social media. In Australia, New Zealand and North America, a Facebook community has been created called ‘Adopt a Healthcare Worker’. This initiative allows volunteers to connect with healthcare workers in their local area and offer support wherever possible. This support has included walking their dogs, offering baked goods and even organising share houses for healthcare workers living with someone who is in a high-risk category.
If you are fit and healthy with no underlying health conditions, there are so many different initiatives to get behind to both help the most vulnerable in our communites and reduce the stress on health workers.
3. Recognise their effort
2020 was already designated by the World Health Organisation as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. This campaign is a way of celebrating the work of nurses and midwives, recognising the vital role they play in society. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of our health workers. During these unprecedented times, it is crucial we show our support so that health workers all know we are grateful for their sacrifice.
Public events have also been organised all over the world in show of appreciation for healthcare workers. In European cities such as Paris, Rome and Amsterdam, people are taking a minute each night to stand on balcolnies or by open windows and sing, cheer and applaude the health workers who are putting themselves at risk on the front line. Nation wide events have also been organised globally. In the UK, a countrywide applause was organised to thank NHS staff for their tireless work.
Others have been getting creative to show their thanks. An artist, known for putting motivational posters on city streets across the world has started a new initiative called “Notes To NHS Staff”, he has designed more than 1,300 posters which include positive and uplifting notes to be displayed in break rooms, kitchens, corridors and offices of hospitals.
Children around the world have also been getting creative, drawing and displaying rainbows in the front window of their homes to represent a sign of support for hardworking health care professionals and a sign of hope and positivity for all those isolated at home.
These small acts of recognition, help support nurses during these trying times by boosting their morale and showing we are ALL behind them.
The Cavell Nurses’ Trust has set aside funding for grants, designed to help nursing and midwifery professionals who are struggling for money as a result of the pandemic. Temporary contract nurses who are not employed on a permanent basis may fall into financial difficulty if they become unwell whilst treating patients and are therefore unable to work. In other cases, nurses may need support if their partner's income suffers due to the lock down and the impact that is having on the economy.
Now, more than ever, nursing charities need our support, with all money raised going towards the nursing professionals who are risking their lives to save ours.
A Global Effort
Whilst you might feel that there is not much you can do on your own, a small effort from everyone is the most effective way we can support healthcare professionals in these trying times.
It’s simple. Stay at home. Save lives. Protect healthcare facilities.