Health care workers around the world have faced unimaginable difficulties during the pandemic. Throughout the pandemic healthcare workers have been dealing with the lack of Personal Protective Equipment, working long hours, being challenged by life and death decisions – who will get access to a ventilator or not, working in Intensive Care Units or changing departments at short notice, all of this has taken a toil. Leaving many staff feeling overwhelmed, emotionally and physically drained, and continuously feeling pressurised to be at work. In the early stages, some individuals chose not to return home in case they put their own family members at risk.
Research has shown healthcare workers are experiencing increased levels of trauma and burnout, where staff are suffering intrusive thoughts, difficulty sleeping and exhaustion. A large scale survey of the impact of the pandemic on the short and long-term health and wellbeing of all staff found rates of mental health disorders increased.
Many of us may now want to ‘turn a blind eye’, or state ‘we just have to learn to live with it’ when referring to the pandemic. But for healthcare workers we need to ‘keep the light on’ in supporting them, as these challenges are real and ongoing. There has been no time for staff to recover mentally or physically from such an intensive and overwhelming period of work, and further to all these challenges, some healthcare workers are suffering from long covid.
Additionally, research has shown an increase in healthcare workers suffering from moral injury.
Moral injury can occur when someone engages in, fails to prevent, or witnesses acts that conflict with their values or beliefs and when they experience betrayal by trusted others especially when this is perceived as avoidable, or they are powerless to change it.
Circumstances that have led to an increase in healthcare workers suffering Moral Injury may include:
- when present at a patient’s death without loved ones present
- allocating restricted resources to severely unwell patients
- feeling let down by others with regards to their safety
Moral injury can lead to feelings of helplessness, shame, guilty and anger. It can also result in a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
To ‘keep the light on’ in continuing to support healthcare workers we need to acknowledge their hard work, professionalism, passion and dedication when caring for their patients. FD Consultants is supporting healthcare workers by offering specialist psychological support to help individuals recover from burnout and trauma. We have also published a book, Molly and the Two Pigeons, which is a story about a group of animals that go on an adventure to find a cure for the Coronavirus and help the people. All proceeds will be gifted to a charity that supports healthcare workers and the patients they care for.
If you wish to play your part in supporting our healthcare workers, please do purchase our book. To buy a copy of Molly and the Two Pigeons, for yourself or as a gift for someone else, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/y6km3f5h or https://tinyurl.com/2v5rfm2a
Alternatively, you can donate to NHS Charities Together at: https://nhscharitiestogether.co.uk