A guide created to help healthcare workers with “moral injuries”

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THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

This guide is the product of a collaboration between the Center of Excellence for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Related Mental Health Conditions, located in Ottawa, and the Phoenix Australia Post-Traumatic Mental Health Center.

MONTREAL – Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare workers who fight the coronavirus have to make difficult choices for their patients, which results in “moral injury”. To help them now and in preparation for a second wave, a new guide has just been created.

It is the result of a collaboration between the Center of Excellence for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Related Mental Health Conditions, located in Ottawa, and the Phoenix Australia Post-Traumatic Mental Health Center.

Entitled “Moral distress among health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: Guide to moral injury,” it describes situations experienced by front-line workers.

“Which patient should provide life-saving care when resources are limited?” How to justify that it is necessary to hastily give leave to a patient to avoid infecting others? What will happen to my patients who suffer from mental problems if I have to end “non-essential” care, such as psychotherapy? ”, It is detailed.

The purpose of the guide is to provide support and advice to help workers, their employers and health care leaders.

In particular, it proposes to put in place preventive structures that protect workers before they suffer moral injury. It explains how to identify the risk factors and how to prepare.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is causing intense physical and mental stress among healthcare workers. They feel guilt and shame. Guilt when determining which patients will receive treatment; shame because they feel like they are not providing optimal care to all of their patients when in fact they are providing the best care possible under the circumstances, “said Dr. Patrick Smith in a statement , Executive Director of the Center of Excellence for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Related Mental Health Conditions in Canada.

In addition to all this, they are sometimes afraid of being infected in turn and of transmitting the virus to their loved ones.

The Guide is accessible here.

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