Before People Become Patients
There can be no doubt that we need to protect and keep everyone in our community as safe and healthy as possible. Most of us see the need to take extra care with health care workers, those people in the hospitals who are treating those infected with coronavirus. I agree. They are on the frontlines of this pandemic.
The impact of a doctor, nurse, aide, technician – any hospital staff – getting sick not only affects them and their families, but the ripple effect would mean they can’t serve the rest of us if we get sick. Clearly, if health care workers get sick, our ability as a community to keep everyone safe and healthy is compromised.
Let us not forget, however, that health care is also provided before people become patients in the hospital. Before people become patients, while they are still in their homes, Community Health Workers (CHWs), home visitors, and assisted living staff are working tirelessly to ensure that healthy individuals stay safe and healthy.
These CHWs are providing preventative care that can help reduce the crush on hospitals. By delivering healthy food, ensuring prescriptions are filled, dropping off basic supplies, these community care providers are keeping us all safe.
The impact of a CHW, home visitor – any traditional health worker – getting sick would not only impact them and their families, but the ripple effect would mean more people are at risk of getting sick… and those ‘people’ are all of us. Clearly, if CHWs get sick, our ability as a community to keep everyone safe and healthy is compromised.
Thus, in our efforts to keep everyone in our community safe, especially those standing on the frontlines, let us not forget that the hospitals are not the only frontlines. Every front door of every house, every entrance to each assisted living facility, and every food bank is also a frontline. The workers standing on all of the frontlines deserve all the respect, support, and resources we can give them.