As cases of COVID-19 soar at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, leadership is frantically trying to create special resources for frontline caregivers that address the anxieties and stresses caused by the pandemic.
All eight of Mount Sinai’s hospitals are treating COVID-19 patients and the system is expected to be over capacity soon. Along with their work stress, clinicians are concerned about child care for their children who are no longer in school or passing along the virus to their family when they come home from shifts.
“We are pretty early in this and already seeing a great deal of stress and anxiety in the workplace,” said Dr. Jonathan Ripp, chief wellness officer of the hospital system. In response, Mount Sinai has put a plan into place focusing on three areas: communication, basic needs and mental health support. The priorities were selected after reviewing the literature from dealing with such other outbreaks as Zika, H1N1 and SARS, Ripp said.
Large healthcare associations are also concerned about the well-being of clinicians at this time and mainly trying to help through political advocacy.
“The best way to minimize the acute stress of this is to make sure physicians have the tools they need, such as personal protective equipment, ventilators and supplies,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association. The AMA, along with the American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association, lobbied heavily to get billions of dollars in funding added to the most recent economic relief package. Congress allocated $130 billion to provider settings, which will likely be used to purchase additional equipment, among other things.