For the past year, while much of the state has been locked down — working remotely and enjoying perhaps a slower pace of life — it’s been quite the opposite for our front-line health care workers. They stepped up, answered the call, working round the clock to care for patients, both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19.
Through countless hand washings and gown changes, they had a front seat to the devastation wracked by COVID-19. Far too often, they were the lifeline between patients and families — facilitating phone calls and iPad chats during the time when visitors were not allowed into the hospitals.
As health care workers have struggled with the pandemic — death, suffering, fatigue, stress, and fears of their own infection — helping families of their patients through denial, grief, and anger has only added to the trauma. We can’t ignore the fact that our front-line workers may be dealing with COVID-19’s emotional toll for months, perhaps even years, to come.
Now, as vaccine rollout ramps up across the state and the country, there is a strong desire to move past the pandemic, to try and get back to “normal” — whatever that may look like. While we may be “turning the corner,” the virus — and the new strains that are evolving — mean COVID-19 remains ever-present. Progress to contain the virus could go either way, and now is not the time to let down our guard. While only time will tell whether a fourth wave will become a reality, many questions remain about the variants.
As long as the virus is with us, we must stay vigilant and take care of ourselves. HQI is discussing initiatives to help engage members on COVID-19-related initiatives and is working with BETA Healthcare Group to stand up HQI Cares. Look for more details on these initiatives in the coming weeks.