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How Caregivers Can Make Their Patients Feel Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Mark John

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Coronavirus Pandemic

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Whether you are an experienced medical professional or have just recently completed nursing school, this year has brought unprecedented challenges to anyone working in the medical field. The coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult for caregivers to meet the needs of patients in various settings. It has also created fear and anxiety in many patients–especially those who are immunocompromised or suffering from certain health conditions–and made them less likely to seek treatment.

There is no denying these are frightening times. Fortunately, though, there are several things you can do to do make your patients feel safe during the coronavirus pandemic. From using antimicrobial laundry detergent when washing your scrubs to practicing social distancing, taking small steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 can go a long way toward making even your most vulnerable patients feel a bit safer. Keep reading to learn how you can ease your patients’ fears and make them feel safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself might not feel like it should be a primary concern, but it definitely should be. In addition to preventing yourself from being infected with the coronavirus, taking care of yourself and showing up to work appearing healthy and well-rested will help put your patients’ minds at ease.

For starters, always remember to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. When water isn’t available, use hand sanitizer. Keep your hands away from your face, too. When you return home from work, wash your scrubs (or other work attire) immediately using antimicrobial laundry detergent. Avoid bringing your shoes inside your home.

You should make a point of cleaning the inside of your car frequently and ramping up your sanitization efforts both at home and at work.

Avoid crowds as much as possible, and don’t travel to known coronavirus hotspots, unless you are required to do so for work.

Take care of your body by eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and making sure you get enough rest. If you’re feeling under the weather, stay home. Even if you know your mild cough is being caused by allergies and not the coronavirus, that cough could be terrifying to your more vulnerable patients.

Taking care of yourself and staying healthy is one of the best things you can do to make your patients feel safe. While they may still be apprehensive about having close contact with you, they’ll feel much safer if you look and sound healthy and well-rested.

Wear the Appropriate Gear

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While wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) all day takes its toll, doing so is essential during these worrisome times. When meeting with patients, wear a mask, gloves, face shield and any other gear needed to protect both you and your patient. They will feel better knowing you are taking steps to protect them, and you’ll feel better knowing you are doing what you can to reduce your risk of getting sick or passing the disease on to others.

Now is a good time to consider upgrading your scrubs, too. Invest in scrubs that feature antimicrobial technology. If you’re currently wearing baggy scrub pants that drag on the floor, think about snagging some men’s tapered scrub pants to keep your workwear a bit cleaner throughout the day.

If you are an in-home healthcare provider and see multiple patients each day, consider changing clothes between each patient. Even if none of your patients are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, taking this simple step could keep you from spreading the virus from one home to another.

Talk to Your Patients About Their Concerns and What You’re Doing to Protect Them

Coronavirus Pandemic2

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Many people–especially those who are considered “high risk”–are experiencing serious anxiety in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The emotional impact of COVID-19 is proving to be devastating for many individuals, and it is not easy to overcome. As a caregiver, it’s up to you to talk to your patients about their concerns and help ease their fears and anxieties as much as possible.

Allow your patients to freely express their specific concerns. Be an active listener, and don’t be dismissive of their fears–even if they don’t seem valid to you. Provide truthful, accurate information. Answer questions honestly, and offer helpful advice and suggestions.

Also, let your patients know what you are doing to keep them safe. They may already be aware of the mitigation efforts of your hospital or clinic, but hearing you say what you are doing each day to protect your patients will help put their mind at ease. Let them know how you’re cleaning and sanitizing your work attire, explain your hand washing protocol and discuss any other steps you are personally taking to safeguard your patients and the community.

Conclusion

Working as a caregiver during the coronavirus pandemic poses numerous challenges. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ve likely found easing your patients’ fears during this time can be incredibly difficult.

Remember that fear and anxiety are normal responses to a global pandemic, and do what you can to recognize and ease your patients’ concerns. Let them know their feelings are valid and explain what you’re doing to keep them safe. Take care of yourself, too, to lower your risk of getting sick or appearing overly tired or run-down in front of your patients.

If you are not a caregiver but would like to help during this challenging time, learn how you can help a healthcare professional. There are many things you can do to ease their burden which will, in turn, help them deliver quality care to their patients.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in which we live and had a major impact on people from all walks of life. Whether you are a caregiver, a patient or anyone else, it’s important to recognize we are all in this together and will need to take steps to protect both ourselves and each other.

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