While efforts to flatten the curve of coronavirus infection have meant statewide stay-at-home orders across the nation, American hospitals have faced record numbers of COVID-19 patients and even resorted to surge units and field hospitals to accommodate them.
Beyond providing more supplies, equipment and personnel, what can your organization do to support these frontline employees? While some hospitals may wait until things have returned to normal to offer services like counseling and mental health initiatives, there are ways you can leverage your existing clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) solution to provide additional care for your caregivers during the pandemic.
1. Broadcast Inspiring Messages & PPE Processes
If your CC&C platform has a one-to-many broadcast capability, make good use by sending motivational or encouraging messages at the start or end of every shift. Reading an inspiring quote as you're clocking in can uplift and motivate your team.
Consider going a step beyond just motivational messages, too. Use the one-to-many messages to update staff about personal protective equipment shipments or the number of discharged COVID-19 patients. This information offers a level of transparency that staff may find unifying during this time.
Our customers have access to Global Messaging, which allows an admin to send a broadcast to all users across multiple facilities. Whether you're a community hospital with a couple buildings or a multi-hospital IDN situated across several states, all your colleagues will be able to receive the message.
2. Make Counseling More Accessible
These are difficult times for everyone, but especially for the frontline clinicians and operational staff who are making patient care possible. Making counseling and therapy more readily accessible for hospital staff is one approach to making sure they are supported by your organization, and there are a couple different ways you can do this within your CC&C platform.
The first is to highlight any counselors you have on staff who are available to meet with employees by listing them in your enterprise directory. If they are already listed, you can add an asterisk to the front of their name so they will appear at the top of the directory and will be easier for staff to find.
In addition to staff counselors, consider adding the phone number of your organization's health benefits center, as they may be able to offer some resources and direction around counseling. You can also create a contact for any relevant mental health hotlines so staff can find them quickly.
3. Provide Access to Video Training
Video is an engaging format, so it makes sense that you would want to provide trainings and wellness resources to your employees in the form of videos. Some valuable information to distribute in video format includes; tips for donning and doffing PPE, reference videos for symptoms of COVID-19 or symptoms of burnout, and even meditation videos to encourage mindfulness.
Our customers have found value from adding videos as InterApp Launch Points so that users can simply tap to view it from within their dashboard. This functionality ensures that employees can quickly launch a video during some down time or during a break before returning to work.
4. Appoint a Wellness Leader
If your organization doesn't already have someone in charge of wellness resources for employees, appoint one now. They should be the point person for wellness initiatives and any questions employees have about hospital-provided resources. Go ahead and get your wellness leader set up within your CC&C platform so that employees know who to turn to when they need help.
Having them connected to your staff through the CC&C tool is also helpful in the event that an employee would like to reach out about problems they're having, but want to avoid the stigma of meeting in person, or otherwise don't have time to set up an in-person session. Frontline clinicians and operational staff will be able to text and call the wellness leader as needed, eliminating any runaround and returning time to care.
Caring for Caregivers
While circumstances may largely feel out of control during the coronavirus pandemic, there are numerous actions healthcare leadership can take to make their employees—and especially their patient-facing colleagues—feel supported and cared for.
We at Mobile Heartbeat will continue to provide strategies and resources for mitigating some of the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic. If you would like more information on ways you can leverage CC&C to improve crisis communication, visit our COVID-19 Command Center or email [email protected].