5 Ways to Continue Supporting Frontline Healthcare Workers
All of us at Trusted Health have been floored by the private and public-sector activity that is flooding the healthcare space to support frontline healthcare responders at the bedside, in kitchens, and along distribution chains across the country. While many of us remain quarantined, there are so many ways to show appreciation, care, and compassion for those who are dedicating their lives to keep us safe.
We’ve heard from thousands of nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers that, still, the number one thing you can do for them right now is to stay home. We’ve also rounded up five other impactful ways that you can support healthcare heroes from the safety of your own home.
1. Medical Donations: PPE, Blood, and Other Supplies
One of the biggest issues still facing healthcare facilities across the USA is lack of access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including surgical / N95 Masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. The best way of donating supplies is finding out if a local facility is in need (they likely are), in which case donations can be easily coordinated for new goods. The following resources provide some more information on how else to get involved.
ProjectN95 is the leading national aggregator and tracker for healthcare facilities to request equipment, and for people or companies to donate supplies. Financial and item donations are both greatly appreciated.
Masks for Docs is another team that is focused on helping gather and deliver masks to NYC healthcare workers, via motorcycle!
And as always, you can donate blood to local blood drives or the Red Cross website, which outlines the importance of blood donations right now and where you can currently give, as it is an essential business and increasingly important!
2. Financial Support
So, you’re stuck waiting at home, and you maybe just got a check from the government. If you’re feeling like you have some extra bucks to spare, the following organizations are leading the effort in supporting frontline workers with crucial needs such as PPE and other necessities to make their lives easier as they care for us all.
Flexport.org is an incredible organization (charitable arm of logistics company Flexport) that has helped to deliver millions of N95 masks and has the right sourcing and fulfillment partners globally to make an impact.
Good Use has provided fresh juices, coffees, and food to healthcare workers all over San Francisco and is currently $2K short of their goal to be able to offer even more!
The American Nurses Association (ANA) created a Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses to enable the public to support and thank nurses directly.
3. Food Donations: From Deliveries to Gift Cards
We all need to eat! Whether you have some extra time on your hands, are in a place where you can donate a few dollars, or both - here are some resources you can use to help support your neighbors, community of health care workers, and local businesses
Catered meal from a local business
Delivering to the frontline heroes of COVID-19, Frontline Foods allows you to make a tax deductible donation online, where 100% of your donation will go to a local restaurant. From there, Frontline Foods organizes the delivery of healthy meals from the chosen local restaurant directly to the local hospitals!
Gift cards and donations
If you have some favorite local stores or restaurants that aren’t open due to shelter-in-place measures, you can also buy now, spend later! Both Gift Forward and Rally for Restaurants will direct you to purchase gift cards at restaurants near you who may need some help with current expenses. Feel free to use these gift cards at a later date for yourself and your family, OR you can donate them to neighbors or nearby healthcare facilities.
Cooking for others
Do you love to cook? Start a non-contact “meal train” with friends in the community! Below are some easy recipes and a website to help you start a meal train in your neighborhood. Meal trains are especially helpful for those who are in the higher-risk population (such as the elderly and immunocompromised), as they have more difficulty leaving their homes to get groceries for themselves and their families.
Maybe cooking isn’t your forté, but you still want to donate your time. Check out this link to see if any food banks in your area are in need of non-contact volunteer services. A little help goes a long way!
4. Expressions of Gratitude
If you want to flex your creative muscles, you can write a letter to a nurse at the forefront of the coronavirus response! If you want to connect with a local hospital, you can start by reaching out to their HR department on the phone! Let them know you want to send letters of support to their ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and ED (Emergency Department), and they can assist!
Additionally, the alcohol delivery service, Drizly, has offered free delivery for the areas that they service! Drop off the perfect 6-pack or cocktail mix for your favorite nurse to provide a little stress relief after three 12-hour shifts.
You can further help out the local restaurants and amazing healthcare workers of your community by buying meals to be delivered to frontlines! Goldbelly is a great site that delivers food from local restaurants to anywhere in the country. You can also order on Uber Eats or Postmates and change the delivery location to that of healthcare workers you know!
Uber Eats is offering free delivery for any local restaurant. Simply go into the app and change your delivery address to that of a nurse or healthcare worker! On the main page, there is a banner for delivery to local restaurants; click on this to order from a small restaurant in the area that will certainly appreciate your business!
Even better, Insomnia Cookies is offering free contactless delivery for their cookies! You can arrange for delivery of a few cookies to a friend you know working on the frontlines or contact your local hospital to arrange a larger delivery.
Additionally, if you're looking to gift some much-needed caffeine (or stock up on fresh coffee while you're staying safe at home), Roast Umber, a Bay Area coffee company is donating 10% of proceeds to charities in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And, of course, you can also share gratitude via social media!
Genies is a super cool virtual platform for nurses and non-nurses alike! They have partnered with the CDC to raise funds to combat COVID-19 and have an amazing virtual avatar community to work together in developing communities and raising awareness.
Another company, Change, enables you to donate to causes you care about by donating a portion of your online shopping purchases directly to causes you support. Many recent ones are COVID-19 related.
Lastly, TikTok. There is a large community of nurses on TikTok (#nursesoftiktok) that taking turns sharing updates, cheering each other up, and just breaking it down with some sweet dance moves.
5. Contactless Connections
This portion isn’t geared solely toward healthcare workers, but it shares ways to advocate for your fellow healthcare workers, some excellent educational resources or families and teachers, and ways to stay connected with your friends, family, and communities digitally.
You can Participate in support groups (remote video or phone chats). For quarantined nurses, in particular, this can be a good way to decompress and debrief on personal experiences and struggles had with the current pandemic.
There are also many online learning opportunities built for teachers and families alike: The first two, Scholastic’s Lessons and Ideas and Education.com’s Lesson Plans, provide great resources for teachers new to remote learning, parents that are homeschooling their children, or instructors simply running out of ideas. Another resource is Wide Open School, a new and unique resource that is a compilation of hundreds of the best free online educational resources for kids.
Video chats: Zoom and Skype and FaceTime, oh my!
For anyone, healthcare focused or not, this is a great time to connect with friends, family, and colleagues virtually via Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, and other video conferencing services. If you can’t see each other in person, you can at least see each other’s faces to restore some hint of normalcy.
The ANA led the charge telling Congress to "increase personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution now" back in March, but that doesn't mean the advocacy should stop there.
As a Nurse Leader, you can -- and should -- advocate for your team whenever possible. In matters of equipment in safety, mental and emotional health, and of logistical realities. Patients need answers, and in order to give those answers, your nurses and staff need support.
And remember, anything you can do matters, is felt, and is appreciated. COVID-19 is a global challenge, and it will take a global response to push it back. Let’s keep looking out for each other (while staying six feet apart)!