Ways to support healthcare workers

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With blood and PPE shortages a danger for the medical community, staff writer Hollianne Lao describes some ways you can support the healthcare community.  Photo courtesy of Pexels

With blood and PPE shortages a danger for the medical community, staff writer Hollianne Lao describes some ways you can support the healthcare community. Photo courtesy of Pexels

The cabin fever might be getting to your head at this point, however, know that you are contributing to a good cause by staying inside. Although your schooling and work may be functioning online now, many workers in essential roles, such as delivery and grocery employees, still continue their jobs to provide for the masses. Among essential workers are those in the healthcare field, with nurses and other healthcare professionals battling the virus on the frontlines and continuing to provide medical attention to those with other afflictions. While you may be feeling idle, here are ways you can support essential and healthcare workers during this time, whether helping them directly or lightening other burdens.

Help out with protective equipment

By just going out into public places and interacting with others, healthcare workers are exposed and at risk of infection. The shortage of masks and sanitation supplies doesn’t help. Although it’s important to have a mask of your own if you go out into public now, don’t take more than you need, and if you have extra gloves, masks or sanitizer, contact your local medical facility to see if they are accepting donations.

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) shares how civilians should properly wear cloth face coverings in “public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” like groceries and pharmacies, as well instructions on sew and no-sew options for making them. Make extra and send them to your family and friends!

“The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators,” the CDC says. “Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.”

Advocating for increased personal protective equipment (PPE) is another avenue you can help out. Call your senators or representatives and ask them to make increased PPE a priority for healthcare workers.

Donate money, food or blood

Even if you cannot directly donate supplies, there are various other ways in which you can contribute. The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations (UN) Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation have jointly created the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to support research of the virus, vaccine and treatment and purchase of supplies.

Here are some other causes similarly fundraising for supplies, research and other ways to support the fight: GoFundMe, Global Empowerment Mission, MedShare and Unicef

If you want to directly support someone you know or those in your community, even just Venmoing them an amount for food, rent and other necessities is bound to be appreciated. Ordering them a meal through a food delivery service is a similar way to show support. And if you are not financially secure enough to be able to monetarily donate the amount you desire, making a home-cooked meal and dropping it off from a safe distance is another option. If you live with a healthcare worker, cooking for them might be a nice surprise.

During this healthcare crisis, the Red Cross is experiencing a shortage of blood. If you are healthy and eligible, consider donating blood or encourage others. 

Provide childcare

The closing of schools and daycares has created a lack of childcare for those in the medical field who still go to work. If you are in a position to do so, offer to take care of a healthcare worker’s children with the necessary sanitary and safety measures in mind. 

Show gratitude and emotional support

Whether someone is working directly with COVID-19 patients, somewhere else in a hospital or generally providing service at this time, they may be feeling the burden or increased stress. Being patient with the situation, letting essential workers in your life and community know that you appreciate their work and providing emotional support means a lot to them.

Stay home

Do your part and reduce the spread of the virus. Follow the advice and information from medical professionals such as the CDC and WHO. Don’t go to public places or visit people unless necessary, and if you do, make sure to socially distance yourself and wear a protective covering. 

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Hollie Lao is a staff writer and the social media manager for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hollianne.lao@uconn.edu.

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