There are so many ways this pandemic has changed the nature of our lives, especially in the world of healthcare. A few years back and in my distant past, I have worked in hospitals. One was state-run, the other military. The overall pervading compassion and empathy that health care providers and staff had for their patients is something that really touched my soul. I came up with three questions I wanted to hear the opinion of medical personnel I know personally. I asked these questions, of doctors, nurses, and emergency med staff. To keep it factual and anonymous, I will list the answers together
What is your biggest challenge during COVID -19?
- Keeping up with all the policy changes and rules for patient care: testing, what, and when to use PPP, how do we get patients seen who need care. Also, personally, how to survive as a private practitioner
- The biggest challenge is having 4 kids at home with limited social outlets for them and still having to work full time. Oh, and financial stress of closing our business and all that came with that. But the kid part was harder than finances!
- Weight gain, lack of exercise
What is the greatest challenge facing the healthcare system?
- The whole system will need to evolve so that the larger systems are not the only ones to survive. The corporate practice of medicine, utilization review, etc., I think are barriers to good care. Takes the critical thinking skills away from doctors. That is dangerous.
- For me, within the healthcare system, the hardest part is feeling like I can’t adequately give my patients care to my standards and the separation from their families. With low census, our staffing is stretched thinner to maintain fiscal responsibility. So, we have less staff available to help when we need it (ratios are still the same). Countless shifts back to back being stretched thin with sicker patients are physically draining. It’s also morally challenging to have to keep families away from their loved ones when I know that it would be in the patient’s best interest to have family there. The visitor policy allows people to come in when death is imminent (and now for a goal of care meeting in some situations). It’s hard to be the in-between sometimes.
- Increase of anxiety disorders, lack of testing early on.
When do you think the pandemic will end?
- I think it will take another flu season for the virus to hopefully mutate to a lower virulence. Hopefully, it will happen but those at high risk will need to be extra careful. I think working from home will continue. I think the restaurant industry faces a far greater challenge.
- And as to when it will end, I can’t give a good estimate. I feel like so much of the data we get from the media is sensationalized to get people to tune in for a story that I don’t trust it. I see our hospital numbers and they were the lowest this week they’ve been since this whole thing started. But The media makes it sound like we are spiking. I hope we can go back to normal soon, but time will tell.
- I think the pandemic will continue into 2021. It won’t have a satisfactory ending until we have a vaccine. It will have to continue to percolate until we have heard immunity
The answers I found in the media were quite interesting!
“Like the fall of the Berlin Wall or the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the coronavirus pandemic is a world-shattering event whose far-ranging consequences we can only begin to imagine today. This much is certain: Just as this disease has shattered lives, disrupted markets and exposed the competence (or lack thereof) of governments, it will lead to permanent shifts in political and economic power in ways that will become apparent only later.”
“In the U.S. alone, Covid-19 has claimed nearly 100,000 lives and 30 million jobs. Beyond grinding day-to-day life to a halt, the pandemic has prompted a reckoning throughout the country’s health care infrastructure, shattering decades-old assumptions about how Americans conceive of medicine, and the doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers they pay to provide it.”
“When will the Covid-19 pandemic end? And how? According to historians, pandemics typically have two types of endings: the medical, which occurs when the incidence and death rates plummet, and the social, when the epidemic of fear about the disease wanes.”
- Covid-19 has accelerated telemedicine ‘by a decade’:
- People are getting serious about the benefits of cleanliness
- Families have been reaching out to each other in any way possible
In conclusion: “If we are able to transform our nation’s care delivery and payment systems in ways that fundamentally improve health care for our patients, providers, and communities, we will have found the silver lining of Covid-19.”