Perspective: Recharging Our Caregivers for the Best Patient Care

August is traditionally the time to take a break, go on vacation, or just slow it down and relax for a bit.

For many people, that’s off the table this year. COVID-19’s impact on health, our economy and our ability to gather in groups has been a game changer for people’s personal plans.

This is especially true for our dedicated, indispensable caregivers. The unpredictability of COVID-19, and its penchant for flaring up quickly in concentrated areas, has made it impossible to lower our guard anywhere.

Six months into the most serious health emergency our nation has faced in a century, caregivers, support teams and practically everyone associated with the treatment of COVID-19 patients are understandably growing weary. Almost every AHA member CEO has expressed concern about the resiliency of their workforces … these incredible men and women who continue to give their all day in and day out.  

While burnout is a problem that must be addressed primarily at the local level, AHA has assembled comprehensive resiliency resources to help employers and workers find new and effective ways to allow health care workers to recharge their mental and physical batteries.

From quiet relaxation rooms with beds and showers to donated healthy meals to providing spiritual counseling, hospitals and health systems have created many meaningful ways to support their workforces. Some have even extended free housing and transportation options.

Hospitals leaders, whether doctors, nurses or executives must also take steps to remain at the top of their game this time. They set the pace and tone for their organizations. 

In the end, Americans want, deserve and support a strong and resilient health care workforce to deliver the best possible patient care. Recent polls show people hold hospitals in very high regard, and want them equipped with the resources they need in the continued battle against COVID-19.

The most fundamental resource of all is people — caregivers who are rested, recharged and ready to carry on this battle with no clear end in sight. Please explore and use our resiliency resources…one more way we are working together to advance health in America.