Helping Healthcare Workers Cope as They Fight COVID-19

The pandemic which all of us are experience now has been quite traumatic. More than 115 countries in the world have the infection spread on the coronavirus pandemic to date. People, especially those who are working outside with the infected COVID-19 patients, that is, the health workers.

The pandemic brings a different set of mixed environments for different categories of people in the society, and the rich continue to perform their daily routines, wherein the unaffordable and fearing the risk of infection, another set of people avoid stepping out during the lockdown.

Only the essential services, health workers, cleanliness workers, and poor suffer varying issues at different scales on their daily operations, as their show cannot afford to have a stop. Especially the health care workers are handling the patients infected from coronavirus, wearing PPE kits the whole day.

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The health workers who are working in hot and humid weather, wherein PPE kits they bath with sweat. Instead of being fearful of getting infected with coronavirus at any time, health workers are facing mental trauma as well. A study by psychoanalyst that health workers ate responding towards stress, known as the psychological effect of coronavirus 2019. In a study, identified that around 43 percent of nurses are working part-time, and in a pandemic, they are working in shifts and various institutions as well.

Health workers are work during this pandemic up to 18 hours in a stretch with no sick leave. They are in danger of getting infected at any time with no options of staying away from work. Health workers are working for a long span of the day without rest and proper sleep to stabilize the situation, control the death rate, and increase the recovery rate.

In such a situation, when they are working away from their families could be traumatic for them. And apart from this mental trauma and long working hours, they are facing a lot of other problems as well, like the hot weather, critical patients, limited access to personal protective equipment, the need for medical supplies, and high pressure.

Health workers are most likely suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder which has the following symptoms:

Post-traumatic disorder stress is a psychological disturbance triggered due to witness life-threatening life and deaths such as

  • The fear of experiencing the trauma again with flashbacks, nightmares.
  • Trying to avoid socialising with people, places, and things that may remind trauma.
  • A negative change in the thought process and emotions may include sadness, anger, or grief.
  • Many other problems like difficulty sleeping, disturbed concentration and having a constant fear of dangers.

There could be some other dangerous situations which can be faced by the person suffering while working as a health worker:

  • Fatigue is a common problem for those suffering from psychological problems, and so health workers who are in great stress could also gain fatigue. The extreme physical and mental exercise which they are handling right now with an ocean of emotions could result in fatigue.
  • The psychological trauma can also let an individual’s moral down. The trauma could directly attack the moral and ethical principles of an individual. And moral injury is the most powerful mental injury a person could face. The moral injury may happen with an individual due to working in limited supplies, long working hours, choosing the perfect life-saving ailment for a patient, tolerating the pain of the death of a patient, constant fear of getting infected, following some medical procedures against the ethical guidelines as per the medical terms. With bad mental health post-traumatic stress disorder could be no new condition
  • They are getting infected while working could be a difficult situation for many health workers. Without family and staying isolated could attack the physical as well as mental health of an individual. It will not be easy for them to recover if they are mentally not prepared. Some of the health workers even lose their life, without meeting their loved ones in some of the last moments of their life, which could affect and break other health workers mentally as well. Thus, the situation worsened as the effect of a pandemic is increasing, and health workers are facing the most difficult time of their job profile.
  • Health workers are facing traumatic grief, since, they are facing some of the sudden loss, and they are facing the death of their life. Traumatic grief can be grief that instead of decreasing, instead increases with time. The trauma could be because of deaths that health workers are facing due to the coronavirus 2k19. For the person suffering from traumatic grief, social support is very important for coping up with the trauma.
  • The emotional, physical, and mental trauma can cause burn out, which can make an individual feeling ineffective and unproductive.

Coronavirus is a deadly virus that can even take life away gives physical suffering. Coronavirus, especially, is traumatic for health workers. Health workers are facing physical as well as mental trauma. Health care is facing the struggle for an extended period. No one is immune, and the situation remains invulnerable to the disease. Especially, those who are working with the patients of coronavirus in fear of infection at any moment.

Measures to avoid the issues that might health worker face because of the pandemic:

  • Try to take the support of your loved ones: although health workers don’t stay free for a long period in their busy schedule. Taking to their friends, families, and loved ones could provide them mental as well as moral support. Sharing the good and bad experience with the family or loved ones will help health workers not to put themselves in trauma. Instead, it would be helpful for them to relieve stress and anxiety. Taking to the family could even help them to cope up with the physical tiredness and will provide them positive energy to work even better with more force. 
  • Don’t catch any negative thoughts and judge oneself: in this period of trauma, health workers are the ones who have to take life and death decisions. Their one decision could save an individual’s life or take and an individual’s life. Besides, healthcare workers should make their minds strong for all the kind of outcomes associated with their decision. No one controls life and death, and no one must bear the blame after the losses. 
  • Take attention towards self-care: doctors are the only hope in this pandemic period, and thus, they should take care of themselves with the whole heart. Even a small mistake could make them inactive, and the hospital staff would lose one of their gems. Thus, it is very important for health workers to not only properly sanitize them to stay away from the fear of infection, but also, stay mentally strong.
  • Avoid strategies with could instead of helping put them in trauma. In this pandemic, doctors prefer the consumption of caffeine for n number of problems. Still, along with this, it is very important to not only take proper measures while consuming caffeine or any other medicine because of their side effects. 
  • Try to take professional help if needed: one could get severely attacked on their mental health while working with patients all day alone, so if necessary, one can go ahead to seek the help of a psychiatrist, so that the trauma doesn’t become serious. Their health is the most precious in this period of the pandemic, and thus they should take proper care of their mental as well as physical health.
  • Try to keep your thoughts, emotions, and practices normal. Instead of taking all the aspects negatively, it should be taken care of to keep positivity a hard time for everyone, especially for health workers. Thus, they should keep their emotions and thought process in a positive aspect.
  • Take proper food, drink plenty of water, and take proper sleep to stay physically fit.
  • Take regular breaks from the long shifts and try to enjoy the break period. Try to watch some videos which you like or engage yourself in your hobby.

Conclusion

Health care workers are like a god nowadays, and they need to stay physically active and mentally strong in this pandemic. All of the people are requested to support them. Practices like applauding for them or showing gratitude towards them is very important to make themselves cheerful and enjoy their work so that this hard time passes soon. Instead of criticism, try to make them feel special so that they feel motivated and work with double speed to make this pandemic end soon

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