Healthcare workers have demanding jobs at the best of times, but Covid-19 has completely changed the game. The road ahead is going to be a difficult one for healthcare workers, but here are five ways that we can make it easier for them.
Maintain Social Distancing
Social distancing guidelines are widely misunderstood, which is a shame because these are essential. Ideally, everyone should maintain a distance of 6 feet from one another at all times. However, it is important to note that this doesn’t mean that coming within 6 feet of another person is dangerous, nor does it mean that staying 6 feet apart from everyone else makes you immune from coronavirus.
Coming within 6 feet of another person for a brief moment, even a couple of minutes, is not dangerous (assuming neither of you is coughing or sneezing). If you need to pass someone on the sidewalk, for example, then it is safe to do so. However, you must minimize the amount of time that you spend within 6 feet of people that don’t live with you.
Wear a Mask
Wearing a mask will ensure that when you can’t maintain social distancing, you will still be keeping yourself and other people safe. You don’t need a medical-grade mask to reduce the chances of you spreading the virus significantly; any fabric face covering is better than having nothing. But whether you choose a mask or a homemade face covering, you will be doing your bit to slow the spread of this disease.
There is some debate about exactly how much of a difference masks make. But given that we know they do make a difference, and given that anyone can make their face covering with ease, there is no excuse not to be wearing a mask when you go out. If everyone wore a mask, then it would significantly reduce the number of patients being hospitalized.
Don’t Hoard Vital Supplies
At the beginning of the pandemic, scenes of shoppers hoarding essential goods were all over our TV screens. Fortunately, as time has gone on and people’s initial panic has subsided, this behavior has mostly died out. But with the virus making a resurgence across the United States and with the possibility of more lockdowns being instituted, there is a chance that we will see panic buying return.
Panic buying can cause numerous problems, not least of all that it deprives essential workers of vital supplies. Nurses don’t have the option of getting up early to beat the crowds; they are forced to shop when their schedule allows for it. There’s nothing wrong with stocking up on tinned food, but there’s no need to fill your cart with toilet paper. Make sure you save some for healthcare workers.
Donate Surplus Supplies and Other Useful Items
Something that many of us can do to help on both a personal and a professional level is to offer up whatever supplies and other equipment we have that would be useful for healthcare workers. For example, we have already seen several TV shows and production companies offering to give masks and other medical equipment that they usually use as props to hospitals that need them. Similarly, some businesses have found creative ways of collecting donations, in the form of money or supplies, to pass on to hospitals.
One of the more unique examples of this is New York based American PAPR, which is offering to donate a free machine to a healthcare worker for every 20 that it sells through its website. But you don’t need to be manufacturing state of the art respirators to be able to make a difference. Right now, hospitals need all the help they can get, so any supplies you have that you think might help them in their day to day fight against Covid-19 are worth donating.
Stay Safe and Only Use Hospitals in an Emergency
It would be best if you always went to the hospital in the event of a medical emergency. However, while many departments are overstretched, it makes sense to try to reduce the number of trips you make to the emergency room. You should only be going to the hospital if you have a severe problem that needs to be addressed urgently.
If we all do our bit, then we can collectively make healthcare workers’ lives considerably more manageable. This is a difficult time for many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff. Anything we can do to lighten the burden is worth doing.