Every day, we hear more about Covid-19…the number of patients in multiple countries, the number of deaths, the financial impact, and our future. We see young people on beaches in Florida ignoring the “Social Distancing” warnings; after all, they are impervious, or so they thought. Look at the latest numbers and you’ll be surprised at the number of victims in the 24-50 age group. We also hear about the Supply Chain, and the disruptions we’ve encountered thus far.
Beyond test sites, perhaps the greatest challenge we face is the procurement of adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for those on the front lines. It’s time to look at best practices for leading in the Covid-19 space, including Communications, Infection Control, and Leadership.
Communication: Think about it; trust is a currency and the key principle in risk communication. Everyone on the team must be singing from the same sheet music at the same time. Communication to employees and healthcare workers is key. As the news develops and our publics get concerned about messaging, stress and anxieties develop, leading to potential errors and mistakes. In an ideal situation, there would be time to plan, setting up a communication strategy and an action guide. But times such as these require immediate action to communicate with the public. Risk communication is vital, so too is managing the message. Do this by not over-reassuring. Say what you know and share what the public can do. Acknowledge and respect uncertainty.
Infection Control: Protective gear is essential to prevent healthcare worker infection when treating COVID-19 patients. The CDC recommends the use of personal protective equipment including a gown, gloves, and either an N95 respirator plus a face shield/goggles or a powered, air-purifying respirator. When PPE is backordered, or simply not available, the possibility of infection is a constant challenge. Shortages of personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators, pose a major concern for health officials and providers working to prevent the novel coronavirus’ spread.
Leadership: In times of crisis, leaders are called on to provide a quick, sensitive and trustworthy response. The public wants to know what you know, what you are doing about it and what they can or should do. Early announcements and intervention demonstrates leadership, and enhances trust, reduces the rumors and can save lives. Communicate, and ensure a sense of control and encourage workers to take care of themselves, as well as business.
We’re all concerned about outcomes, across the continuum of care. As I speak to healthcare audiences around the country and across the globe (virtually at the present time), I am always asked to speak about outcomes. I’m offering complimentary sessions for my existing clients on:
- Navigating the challenges
- Leading in time of crisis
- Leading virtual teams
- Maintaining morale
- Attaining/sustaining focus and balance, and
- The stressors of working/schooling from home.
As the author of B is for Balance, 2nd edition, I know stress. As one who has survived the frontlines of the Russian White House burning, the uprising in Tiananmen Square, and an aircraft that lost fuselage over Siberia, I know crises.
What kind of outcomes do you seek in the age of Covid-19? How will you attempt to implement best practices for communication, infection control, and leadership? Ask me how!