Life as a healthcare professional isn’t easy during “normal” times. And with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, many nurses, doctors and other providers are working double-time to keep up with the needs of the thousands of patients who are filling some hospital emergency rooms to capacity. Many of the workers we depend on to take care of us during our time of need are being stretched beyond their limits and are in need of some TLC now more than ever before.
If you would like to express your gratitude and help healthcare professionals during this challenging time (or anytime!), there are several ways in which to do so. Keep reading to learn more!
Listen to the Experts
Listening to healthcare experts is one of the best things you can do to help nurses and other healthcare providers during this difficult time. Some things, like washing your hands, practicing social distancing and staying home aren’t just about protecting yourself from getting sick. These guidelines have been issued to prevent you from potentially spreading the virus to others and, in doing so, they are intended to help keep hospitals, urgent care facilities, etc. from being overrun by patients.
After several weeks at home, you may feel bored and ready to go out to do just about anything. Keep in mind, though, that failing to follow guidelines and recommendations could lead to a spike in cases. And a spike in cases means that the healthcare workers in your area will have to put in even more time to take care of everyone. Before you decide you’ve had enough of quarantine and start living your life “normally” again, think about the impact it could have on your local healthcare system.
Check on Them
If you have a friend or loved one who works in healthcare, simply checking in on them could make a huge difference. While they may do their best to put on a happy face and provide high-quality care for their patients, depression rates are on the rise among nurses who are working on the frontlines of COVID-19. Many are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and isolated from the people they care about. Sending a simple “How are you?” text or jumping on FaceTime or Zoom can go a long way toward making a healthcare provider feel like they are not alone.
It’s also helpful to send tiny distractions to brighten their day. Text them a funny joke, let them know how much you appreciate them, etc. Even if they don’t have time to have an hour-long conversation with you (which they probably don’t), they’ll appreciate hearing from you, and your text or call could be the little bright spot that helps them make it through another day.
Send a Thoughtful and Practical Gift
You don’t need a special occasion to send a gift to someone you love. Sending the healthcare provider in your life an unexpected gift will brighten their day and remind them of how much they mean to you. Useful and practical gifts are great right now. Consider ordering some cute and comfortable scrubs that your bestie can wear on her next long shift. Or if your friend has complained about being chilly at work and not having enough pockets to carry all of her supplies, think about gifting her some new scrub jackets for women. Not sure what size the healthcare provider in your life wears? You could even order some Smartboost laundry additive that they can use to keep their scrubs sparkling clean and free of germs.
If you don’t know any healthcare professionals personally but would like to give back to the ones working in your community, consider making a donation to a local hospital, clinic or long-term care facility. Many workers are still facing PPE shortages and would greatly appreciate some handmade masks. You could even drop off a gift certificate for a local restaurant that’s offering takeout, a basket of yummy baked goods or some coffee from a local coffee shop.
Help Out with Childcare
With many schools and daycare centers closed due to COVID-19, a lot of healthcare professionals are struggling to find a safe place for their kids to stay while they are working on the frontlines. If you have a friend or family member who is in desperate need of childcare during this time, consider offering up your time to help watch their children.
Offering to take care of a healthcare professional’s kids while they are at work takes a huge weight off their shoulders. It can save them a heap of money, too, especially if they are working doubles.
Before you make this offer, just make sure you know it’s something that you’ll be able to handle. Also, you should only volunteer to do this if you know for certain that you haven’t been around anyone who is sick or has potentially been exposed to the virus.
Avoid Making Them Your Source of COVID-19 Information
When you know someone who works in healthcare, it’s tempting to ask them all of your questions. Right now, though, you should definitely think twice before pestering a friend or loved one with all of your COVID-19 questions. After spending 8, 12, 16 or more hours working on the frontlines and dealing with the virus day in and day out, the last thing they want to do is come home to be badgered about the crisis.
Healthcare workers’ lives are currently dominated by the coronavirus. When you are chatting with them, it’s a topic that should be avoided, unless they bring it up first. While many healthcare providers will answer any questions you may have because they feel an obligation to do so, now is not the time to put them in that situation in the first place. Let them enjoy some corona-free hours during their (very limited) downtime.
Be There for Them
The COVID-19 outbreak has created a world in which most of us never even imagined living. Healthcare providers train for public health crises, but no amount of learning from a book can fully prepare anyone for the situations that many workers are now facing. If you have a healthcare professional in your life, simply being there for them in whatever way they need is the best way that you can help them during this time. Be a listening ear, prepare dinner and drop it on their front porch, or extend a simple “thank you.” Just letting them know that you appreciate and care for them can help keep them going on their hardest days.