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How to Help Healthcare Workers During COVID-19 Crisis
How to Support Healthcare Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) has celebrated World Health Day on April 7 since 1950. The day is meant to shine a light on an area of healthcare that needs global attention. World Health Days in previous years have focused on universal health coverage, diabetes, antibiotic resistance, and food safety.
The theme for 2020 this year was particularly appropriate, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the strain it is putting on healthcare professionals. This year the World Health Day theme was Support Nurses and Midwives. Even though World Health Day has passed, here's what you can do to continue to support nurses and other healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in your area.
Help With Groceries and Supplies
Going to the grocery store is one of the activities that is still allowed under stay home orders in Florida and around the U.S. But for nurses and midwives who are working long (12-hour) shifts at the hospital, finding time to go to the store can be a challenge. One way to help out is to offer to do the shopping for a nurse or healthcare worker in your neighborhood.
Ask them to send you a list of what they need by text or email, then pick up their groceries when you do your own shopping. Try to go at a time when the store won't be crowded to protect yourself and others. Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet from others. It's also a good idea to cover your mouth and nose with a cloth mask or bandana.
Drop off the groceries at their house by leaving the bags on the front porch or in a garage. Don't bring the groceries inside the home yourself.
If you're not comfortable going to the store yourself, you can order delivery for a healthcare worker you know.
If you don't personally know any nurses or midwives, you can still support them. When you're out shopping or are ordering groceries for your home, try to limit what you buy. Don't stock up on more than you'll need or use over a two-week period. Avoiding the urge to panic buy means that there will be enough for everyone.
Leave PPE to the Pros
Although the CDC has started to recommend that people wear fabric face coverings when they go outside1, it does not recommend that civilians and non-medical professionals wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N-95 respirators or surgical masks. PPE is in demand and in short supply among the people who need it most, including nurses and other employees in hospitals.
To support healthcare workers through the pandemic, leave any PPE you see on store shelves on the shelf. Don't buy it for yourself. If you happen to have any gear around your home, such as surgical or N-95 masks, vinyl gloves or hand sanitizer, consider donating it to your local hospital. They may need it much more than you do at the moment.
If you do have a donation for a local healthcare provider or hospital, call before bringing it over. The facility might not need it or might prefer it if you stayed home.
If you are healthy and do not have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, it is still safe for you to donate blood or blood products. In fact, the American Red Cross and the FDA are encouraging healthy individuals to donate blood during the pandemic, to minimize the risk of a blood shortage in the near future.
When you go to donate blood, remember to practice social distancing on your way to the donation center and while at the donation center.
Doing your part to help "flatten the curve" will also help to support nurses and healthcare workers during the pandemic. Right now, staying home unless you absolutely need to go out is one of the best ways to help flatten the curve and reduce community spread of the virus.
When you do go out, either to go to work, to the supermarket, or for a walk or run, keep at least six feet away from others and wear a fabric mask to reduce the chance of spreading the disease. When you return home from essential errands, set your bags and coat down at the entryway and take off your shoes. Wash your hands before you touch anything else. Remember to use soap and water when washing your hands and to scrub up for at least 20 seconds.
Post Something Positive on Social Media
It seems simple, but every little word of encouragement and gratitude can go a long way when it comes to supporting nurses, midwives, and other essential healthcare workers. If you use social media, create a post to say thanks to your local healthcare team. You can use the hashtag #Thankyoudoctors #SupportNursesandMidwives when you make your post.
1. Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19, CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html