While efforts to flatten the curve of coronavirus infection have meant statewide stay-at-home orders across the nation, American hospitals are still facing record numbers of COVID-19 patients and even resorting to surge units and field hospitals to accommodate them. The unprecedented influx of patients has meant longer hours for facilities that are already facing staffing shortages.

Beyond providing more supplies, equipment and personnel, what can your organization do to support these frontline employees? While some hospitals may wait until things have returned to normal to offer services like counseling and mental health initiatives, there are ways you can leverage your existing clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) solution to provide additional care for your caregivers during the pandemic.

1. Broadcast Inspiring Messages & More

If your CC&C platform has a one-to-many broadcast capability, make good use by sending motivational or encouraging messages at the start or end of every shift. Reading an inspiring quote as you’re clocking in can uplift and motivate your team.

Consider going a step beyond just motivational messages, too. Use the one-to-many messages to update staff about personal protective equipment shipments or the number of discharged COVID-19 patients. This information offers a level of transparency that staff may find unifying during this time.

If you are a Mobile Heartbeat customer, you also have access to Global Messaging, which allows an admin to send a broadcast to all users across multiple facilities. Whether you’re a community hospital with a couple buildings or a multi-hospital IDN situated across several states, all your colleagues will be able to receive the message.

Regular communication from hospital leadership can help set employees’ minds at ease. When they are readied with up-to-date and relevant information, it keeps them secure and prepared for their shifts.

2. Make Counseling More Accessible

These are difficult times for everyone, but especially for the frontline clinicians and operational staff who are making patient care possible. Many of these workers are going above and beyond for their patients—putting themselves in harm’s way to provide quality care for the sick. And with infection rates increasing each day, there is serious concern across many organizations for the mental health and well-being of their frontline colleagues.

Making counseling and therapy more readily accessible for hospital staff is one approach to making sure they are supported by their organization, and there are a couple different ways you can do this within your CC&C platform. The first is to highlight any counselors you have on staff who are available to meet with employees by listing them in your enterprise directory. If they are already listed, you can add an asterisk to the front of their name so they will appear at the top of the directory and will be easier for staff to find.

In addition to staff counselors, consider adding the phone number of your organization’s health benefits center, as they may be able to offer some resources and direction around counseling. You can also create a contact for any relevant mental health hotlines so staff can find them quickly.

When you make these resources available, broadcasting is a great way to make sure staff are aware of them.

3. Provide Access to Video Training

Video is an engaging format, so it makes sense that you would want to provide trainings and wellness resources to your employees in the form of videos. Some valuable information to distribute in video format includes; tips for donning and doffing PPE, reference videos for symptoms of COVID-19 or symptoms of burnout, and even meditation videos to encourage mindfulness.

Within MH-CURE, you can add videos as InterApp Launch Points so that users can simply tap to view it from within their dashboard. This functionality ensures that employees can quickly launch a video during some down time or during a break before returning to work.

4. Appoint a Wellness Leader

If your organization doesn’t already have someone in charge of wellness resources for employees, appoint one now. They should be the point person for wellness initiatives and any questions employees have about hospital-provided resources. Now more than ever, the wellness leader should be visible and accessible to employees so they know who they can turn to when they need help.

Go ahead and get your wellness leader set up within your CC&C platform so that they can send broadcast messages, add new videos, update resource links and communicate with the rest of your organization’s incident command teams.

Having them connected to your staff through the CC&C tool is also helpful in the event that an employee would like to reach out about problems they’re having, but want to avoid the stigma of meeting in person, or otherwise don’t have time to set up an in-person session. Frontline clinicians and operational staff will be able to text and call the wellness leader as needed, eliminating any runaround and returning time to care.

Caring for Caregivers

While circumstances may largely feel out of control during the coronavirus pandemic, there are numerous actions healthcare leadership can take to make their employees—and especially their patient-facing colleagues—feel supported and cared for.

We at Mobile Heartbeat will continue to provide strategies and resources for mitigating some of the negative effects of the coronavirus. If you would like more information on ways you can leverage CC&C to improve crisis communication, visit our COVID-19 Command Center or email covid19@mobileheartbeat.com.