Being the closest to the patients there has been a huge loss of lives of healthcare workers around the world. We need to salute their dedication and passion towards their job so much so that they are even ready to jeopardize their lives for our well-being.
Risks were initially low but gradually the healthcare workers facing the COVID patients were at higher risk than the non-patient-facing healthcare workers. There was also an increase of risks among the household of the frontline healthcare workers.
After the loss of lives, going through various detrimental factors, and over time there are some working practices that need to be incorporated especially for nurses and carers to help them survive this pandemic as they dedicate their lives to their profession. Not only do they risk their own lives but also risk the lives of their families and friends with whom they are in contact. Hence the need to deduce better practices for the safety of these workers became the top priority.
In view of all these deadly factors certain practices need to be followed to stay protected from the virus:
- All healthcare workers should use the infection control kits for all patients at all times.
- Good hand hygiene as it spreads through droplets when you sneeze or cough
- Separating patients and isolating them according to their symptoms of suspected or confirmed cases.
- Proper PPE to be worn such as disposable aprons, gloves, masks, and even a visor in necessary cases.
- In case of close proximity with a patient a surgical mask that is fluid-resistant needs to be worn. Even the use of a filtering facepiece respirator and visor could be more protective.
The dos and don’ts for nurses and healthcare workers to prevent themselves as well as their families from contracting the virus:
- The masks should be well-fitting covering both the nose and the mouth. The mask should not be loose or dangle around the neck while in close contact with the patient or in the same area.
- The uniform of the staff should be laundered separately and in case the facility is not available in the place of work it needs to be carried home in a disposable plastic bag and needs to be laundered separately. Make sure other laundry does not get mixed and it should be done in maximum temperature.
- Nurses who have been tested positive and have recovered can be assigned to the patients who are in isolation or in cohort wards.
Nurses and health care assistants suffer not only physically but also have mental health issues due to the fear of contracting the virus, separation from loved ones, and redeployment. Some steps can be taken to reduce the intensity of pressure and anxiety in them such as:.
- Rotation of shifts from high stress to low-stress functions
- The partnership of experienced and inexperienced workers
- Work breaks are essential/flexible schedules
- Easy access to support services