By Mike Glenn, Consultant Pharmacist
Our lives changed 9 months ago with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. The surge of the virus not only jeopardized the health of millions but led to seemingly irrevocable social, economic, and political instability. Consequently, there seems to be an increase in anxiety, depression, and anger among those closest to the virus. Long term care health workers are deeply susceptible to this negativity, but I find that most rise to the occasion each day with compassion, courage, and dedication.
As a traveling consultant pharmacist, I have witnessed the ways in which facility workers have handled the COVID crisis. It is no secret that it takes a special type of person to work in long term care, but the last few months have more than reinforced that notion. In addition to an already immense workload, I have seen healthcare workers face countless new challenges with unrivaled efficiency. I have seen rapid operational changes for the safety of workers and residents. New infection control measures centered around screening, testing, and hygiene have been seamlessly implemented. Nearly all policies and practices have been altered to ensure the safety of all. Outside of medical practice, I have seen staff deal with increased grief, anxiety, and depression due to resident isolation, sickness, and death. Working with families and helping them understand why they cannot visit their loved ones has become an everyday task for healthcare workers. These, and other, challenges have not only been met but exceeded, with commitment and determination. This extreme dedication to the safety and wellbeing of the residents has left me impressed and honored to be associated with healthcare workers
There are signs in front of some nursing facilities with slogans like “Heroes Work Here” or “Our Employees are Rock Stars.” This is absolutely the truth! Maybe our society could learn a thing or two from long term care health workers. Great job!