Routinely review emerging evidence for best practices in the treatment of COVID-19. Since this is a novel virus, recommendations are changing rapidly. Refer to the following summary for the latest therapy updates. We will regularly update this page with new changes.
Implement aggressive testing to locate and mitigate outbreaks in the community. Healthcare workers performing the testing must have proper PPE and protocols upon indication of a positive test result. Those overseeing these testing locations should plan and establish strong workflows with clear steps based on any possible scenario.
Anticipate additional patient safety risks. Patients who are currently hospitalized, whether for COVID-19 or not, are at much higher risk for harm than usual. The healthcare team is under greater stress than ever before, and this crisis has highlighted the gaps in safety processes in hospitals across the world. Download our Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS) and use them as a guide to determine whether you have safety gaps that can be addressed right now:
Include the patient and family as active decision-makers in care. Utilize virtual means of communication, such as Zoom or FaceTime, to connect with the family or patient advocate during rounds and bedside handoff. Provide them with the information they need to document at home to ensure understanding of care needs upon discharge. Anticipate more challenges with transitioning care to home after discharge.
CARDMEDIC: CARDMEDIC is a free communication tool to allow clinicians to communicate with patients effectively through the PPE in times of COVID and beyond
Embrace continuous improvement and a culture of safety. The coronavirus pandemic has made this more important than ever, as our systems are becoming stressed beyond capacity. Creative, innovative solutions are necessary, implemented within a strategic approach to continuous improvement. The science of human factors tells us that we need to make workflows easy to get right and hard to get wrong, and healthcare systems should be doing everything they can to simplify care processes right now. Clinicians should play an active role in leading these improvement teams.
Communicate effectively with the general public and with your patients. New information arises around COVID-19 daily. It is important to remain a trusted source of information for your patients and your community to avoid miscommunication and unintended consequences. Those in the general public are seeking knowledge about what healthcare providers know and what they are doing about it. Make sure to get feedback from your community about their learning needs and concerns. Many organizations have Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs), which welcome patients, family members, and members of the community to share their thoughts for improvement. Consider inviting those seldom heard voices, such as those from low income communities of color, into your organization’s PFAC to inform needed interventions to address concerns.
St. Bernard’s Hospital: Community Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccines: In January 2021, St. Bernard Hospital in Chicago held a virtual community town hall to address concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination and encourage residents to get vaccinated when they’re eligible. The event featured informative, straightforward presentations from clinical staff and a wide-ranging question and answer session. We congratulate St. Bernard on demonstrating a high level of concern about patient safety and public education at this critical time.
Anticipate your need for physical, mental, and emotional self-care. The coronavirus crisis is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, and we are going to be dealing with it in healthcare for some time to come. Those in the hardest-hit areas compare it to being in a war zone, so taking time for self-care is even more important right now.
Take care of those on your team. Workplace safety and wellness must be prioritized to the greatest extent possible always, but especially in times of crisis. While leaders set the precedent for this expectation through their own behaviors, peer to peer support cannot be overstated.
Manage end-of-life issues effectively. Engaging in end-of-life care discussions with patients and their loved ones can be difficult. Due to the often uncomfortable nature of this conversation, it is often not dealt with well. Having these discussions is especially important now more than ever.
Find joy in your work. For the most part, clinicians go into their field to fulfill their desire to help those around them. However, this desire can feel impossible during the COVID crisis. It is important to avoid burnout by finding things to enjoy throughout the day. Additionally, care for the caregiver programs should be emphasized by the organization.