8 Ways to Support Healthcare Workers During a Pandemic
Another week or so of this pandemic has passed, and tomorrow starts a new phase here in Michigan: Our governor has put a Stay Home, Stay Safe order into effect, calling for further restricted movement and business operations throughout our state, reflecting our infection numbers, which have gone from 0 to over 1000 in less than 2 weeks. My little family and I haven’t left home since I last wrote, though we’re all recovering now from whatever it is that we’ve been dealing with. But, though it’s actually been nice for us to have more time at home together in many ways, there are a lot of people out there who don’t have that luxury at this time, and I wanted to talk today about some of them. So, I’m going to be mentioning 8 ways to support healthcare workers during this pandemic.
In my last post, Be the Church: 8 Ways to Minister During a Pandemic, I talked about how Christians everywhere can work as the body of Christ to minister and reach out to one another even though we aren’t able to join together in corporate worship in our churches at this time. I shared some ideas, and there was a good response to my post, which tells me that Christians are just itching for opportunities to help people out. We don’t need to practice emotional distancing even when we’re keeping a safe physical distance. But, my last post, as I quickly realized left out any mention of how to specifically help or care for the frontline healthcare workers, who are working their regular shifts (and more, in many cases), in spite of the fact that much of the rest of the world has gone into hibernation.
8 Ways to Support Healthcare Workers During this Pandemic
We need to care for our doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, lab workers, medical receptionists, and hospital/healthcare admin workers (and I’m sure there are many more I haven’t mentioned specifically). Here are my best ideas, and I’d love to hear from you if you have a great idea, too! Just leave your ideas in a comment at the bottom of this post and we can inspire each other to action!
1. Stay Home
You guys, we have to stay home.
Stay home if you’re bored, sick, well, antsy, whatever. Stay home.
Of course, if you are REALLY sick, go get the medical help you need.
If you have to go to work, do it…and then come back home.
If you’ve got to get supplies, do it! (But order delivery if you have the option, or at least do the curbside pickup thing if you can.) Even many local businesses are offering more of these options in the face of all of the restrictions in place at this time.
The more we stay home (or keep our activities outside and 6 feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in your household), the fewer really sick people there will be for our healthcare workers to have to care for.
2. Call Ahead for Medical Attention
If you need medical attention, call first so that they know you’re coming. Not all healthcare facilities are equipped to deal with the virus, so call ahead to be sure you’re headed somewhere that can actually help you with what you need. This is great for healthcare workers because they can be as prepared as possible before you even arrive.
3. Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
If you have masks or gloves that can be used by healthcare workers, please consider donating them to your local hospital or clinic. Please call ahead to be sure your donation will be useful and welcome, and then follow the instructions for donation (don’t drop off items if you’re sick!). Dental offices, woodworkers, and tattoo artists have all been reported donating whatever items of PPE that they can to healthcare facilities in need (here’s one story on this from CNN), and if you have access to a store of these items, you can too!
4. Give those Healthcare Workers a Shoutout
Hit social media and keep it positive with a shoutout to any of the healthcare workers that you know. Let everyone in your sphere of influence know how hard your friends in healthcare are working! Share their posts when they talk about local needs or conditions so that you can spread awareness and help find supplies.
5. Reach Out
Check in with your friends and family in healthcare and find out how they’re doing. Offer to pray with them, let them know you’re praying for them, and see if they need their needs met in some way that you can work on. Healthcare workers with kids may need support with childcare, picking up groceries, or something else. Be a listening ear and a helping hand. Don’t keep calling or texting if they don’t answer–they need to rest when they can!
6. Make Fabric Masks
There’s a shortage of masks available to healthcare workers in many areas due to the current pandemic. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you may be able to help by making fabric masks for hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, etc. in your area. Don’t just wing it, though! Follow an approved pattern and call to be sure each location is accepting these masks before you make them! Check out this page by Deaconess Health System, which has a pattern and a database where you can find facilities who are looking for fabric masks to use.
7. Donate Blood
The Red Cross is reporting a severe blood shortage right now, so if you are healthy, find a blood drive near you and make an appointment to donate.
Our healthcare workers need our prayers–especially at this time. Healthcare workers are taking risks that many of us don’t have to worry about. They’re heading in to work each day, and in many cases they’re working under the stress of rationing the equipment that will best keep them safe. Their children are out of school, just like ours, and it’s just as hard for them to find toilet paper, bread, and eggs. Include them in your prayers as you go about your day, and encourage your kids to pray for them, too.
Love your neighbor
None of this is easy for any of us, but as Christians (and especially as Christian parents), taking our mandate from Mark 12:30-31 seriously means considering the needs and safety of the people around us. In a time like this, it could be easy to focus inward on our own families alone, but true love is not self-seeking. Let’s be intentional about teaching our kids, through our actions, to be thoughtful about the safety of the people around us.
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