May 27 is Psychology Day and this year it’s a particularly timely moment to acknowledge the impact of psychology. Along with the physical and financial havoc wreaked by COVID-19, the pandemic has negatively affected mental health, especially for those in long-term care. Recognizing Psychology Day raises mental health awareness and is a means of expressing an organizational commitment to emotional well-being.
The impact of stressors
As I stated in this article, many nursing home workers have witnessed the sudden deaths of beloved residents, risked their health and the wellbeing of their loved ones, and have strived to comply with shifting regulations, requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) and the lack of availability of PPE. Additionally, those in management have scrambled to protect their staff members and to keep their businesses afloat during one of the most challenging periods in long-term care history.
In “‘I can’t turn my brain off’: PTSD and Burnout Threaten Medical Workers,” author Jan Hoffman discusses the effect of Covid-19 work on frontline staff such as emergency medical technicians, nurses and physicians, who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, unwanted upsetting memories and difficulty concentrating. Nursing home employees in the epicenter of this pandemic have been exposed to comparable stressors and many are similarly exhibiting PTSD symptoms.