The COVID-19 pandemic has placed substantial demands on our already overstretched health systems, especially on caregivers and the communities they serve. The impact of the virus on caregivers and their communities will be amplified by the longer-term devastation of our nation’s mental health and well-being. These moments of chaos, uncertainty, and moral and physical hazard are not new to care teams across the globe, but rather, they dramatically exacerbate an existing and deeply concerning caregiver crisis of burnout. Burnout affects all aspects of the pursuit of better health and health care. It is linked with lower-quality and less-safe patient care, and it limits providers’ empathy — a crucial component of effective and person-centered care.
These are unprecedented times and we recognize that it is not enough to simply recycle wellness offerings of the past, or assume that retooled versions of those approaches will meet all our current needs.
As a result, WBT partnered with IHI to launch a Caring for Caregivers special series focused on topics related to the prevention, prediction, and mitigation of poor caregiver mental health and well-being, featuring experts in the field. Key themes included: Transforming moral distress to moral resilience, Peer support: Fostering connection and de stigmatizing mental illness, and Psychological PPE.
The ideas and lessons learned from the Caring for Caregivers special series were harvested to create a toolkit, with strategies organized by practical actions that individuals, leaders, and organizations can take to support the health care workforce during the pandemic and beyond.
We are very excited to share the Caring for Caregivers’ toolkit, A Guide to Promoting Health Care Workforce Well Being During and After the COVID 19 Pandemic, with you and hope you find this helpful.
Arpan Waghray, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer of Well Being Trust, a geriatric psychiatrist and system director for behavioral medicine at Swedish Health Services, and 2021 Chair-Elect of the Behavioral Health Services Council of the American Hospital Association.