For the past year, health care workers have been on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve taken care of sick patients while having to don personal protective equipment and put themselves at risk of catching the virus and bringing it home to their families. They’ve toiled long hours and dealt with the psychological impact of working with so many sick and dying patients — often serving as the conduit between patients and their families. For all they’ve done this past year — and the work they’ll continue to do as they care for patients or help with the massive vaccination effort — Insight created this special Health Care Heroes section to pay tribute to them.
In the pages that follow, you’ll find several articles focused on the challenges health care workers have faced this past year and how they have persevered amidst the adversity. One point brought to the forefront is that health care workers go beyond just who we see at the doctor’s office or hospital. There are health care workers at long-term care and assisted living facilities, in residences as home health care providers, environmental services workers and emergency medical technicians, just to name a few. As the fight continues against the pandemic, health care workers also will be on the front lines providing vaccinations against COVID-19 as we all look to return to restaurants, entertainment venues and events.
Jessica Thiel’s lead story takes a look at how health care organizations and their employees responded to the pandemic and shares stories from front-line workers on how they are surviving the ordeal. That story begins on page 4. Long-term care facilities have been in the spotlight this past year as they look to keep residents safe while also trying to maintain social engagement. Turn to page 10 to read Nikki Kallio’s story on how some facilities went above and beyond to keep their residents smiling even when they couldn’t see their loved ones. The rollout of the vaccine is the next focus for health care providers. Turn to page 13 to read my article on how health care organizations are serving as vaccination hubs to get as many people inoculated as possible.
While all of our lives have been impacted by COVID-19, health care providers and front-line workers have worked tirelessly to care for patients and keep people safe. As we are taking time now to say thanks, let’s hope they know how grateful we are for their sacrifices so far and for the care they will provide in the months ahead as we hope to rid ourselves of this pandemic.