The peak of the COVID-19 pandemic is coming to an end, much to the healthcare professionals’ relief. Different European countries are gradually relaxing the strict COVID measures and hospitals are carefully starting up more of their non-COVID activities. There are many practical considerations such as hygienic measures and (re)scheduling of appointments, but what about the mental wellbeing of our healthcare professionals? And what can hospitals do to support their teams? We talked with Bernadette Claes and Tania Carolus from Leonardo BV to learn from expertise in psychology and HR management. Below we share our biggest learnings with you.
FROM HIGH PRESSURE TO NORMAL?
Many healthcare professionals have been under tremendous pressure: many hours, the risk of getting infected, many new procedures, other types of patients, other types of work, then losing patients… Most of them will have accumulated fatigue after this intense period. Before going back to normal and making plans for catching up on the most urgent patients that have been postponed, it is important to make time for decompensation and processing.
After the feeling of relief, often people start reflecting on the past period and on their priorities: “Could I have done more? Should I have put my priorities more with my family? Should I have put my personal health at risk like I did?,...”
How can people in leadership roles within the hospital support their team? Firstly, by acknowledging the efforts that have been done and recognizing the difficulties and sacrifices that this period has brought. Secondly, by listening to the worries and needs of the teams about the future and actively exploring why this is important to them to be able to move forward. Lastly, by staying attentive for these team members that will need more professional and independent coaching or assistance to move forward. Hospitals have done a great job already as many have had their own psychologists be available for their co-workers. But soon these psychologists will have to focus again on their patients too.
A WORLD OF CONTRADICTIONS
The last couple of weeks have been one of many contradictions. Between the drive to save lives and the grieve for the ones that could not be saved. Between the applause in the evening and the uncertainty about the policies of tomorrow. Between the COVID departments and the other departments in the hospital. But also, between the hospital and the home environment.
It is important for hospitals to bring everyone together now, and make sure nobody feels left behind. Recognize the critical role that everyone has played in this period and will still play in the coming months to move forward together: IT teams & logistics departments had to convert one hospital in a COVID and a non-COVID hospital, Cleaning teams have never been busier, Administrative teams are faced with the impossible task to reschedule months of appointments…
How does Leonardo BV contribute?
Leonardo BV can be the interface between issues team members are facing and the best next step in coping with them. They offer five leaders in Flemish hospitals their coaching free of charge till September. Together with the team leader they will make an analyse and set up steps that leads their team forward. Contact Leonardo BV to learn how you can use their expertise to make a good transition from the adrenaline phase into the decompensation phase.