During the COVID crisis, what were clinics and their patients going through? Looking from the inside out helps everyone see what the staff were going through.
Sitting down with a clinic supervisor can answer some of the issues the staff were facing. Clinic supervisor Leah Torgerson shared, “We were so confused because no protocols were in place when it all started. We had to make them up as we went along. Who were we going to see at the clinics or the hospitals? We had protective equipment, but those ran out quickly. Our suppliers were deluged with requests, so getting more supplies became an immediate problem.” These were some of the problems that the local clinics were facing.
Administrators started to react to the virus when they realized that they were dealing with an epidemic. Torgerson went on to say, “The health care organization that runs our clinic met with all supervisors to consolidate services, which meant closing some of the clinics and directing our patients to hospitals and to certain clinics that remained open. This meant that some of our non-medical staff were furloughed for a time and an overload of work for the medical teams. Although it seemed like a good idea at first to furlough non-medical staff, it turned into a paperwork nightmare shortly after it was implemented because medical staff spent a great deal of their time filling out medical and insurance paperwork. Along with the normal paperwork, the government wanted additional paperwork, completed with each suspected and actual case of COVID. “Along with the COVID caseload, what happened to the normal medical cases that clinics handle? That part of the COVID crisis went largely ignored. Patients with other non-emergency medical appointments were told to wait until clinics could catch up with the unexpected overload of COVID appointments. “We really worried about our regular patients during the crisis. When we realized that COVID was not going to be an overnight cure, we decided to reach out to our regular patients to make sure that their ongoing medical issues were not becoming more serious issues,” Torgerson said.
Clinic patient Teri Ward shared, “I really began to worry about my ongoing medical issues during the COVID crisis. Getting the COVID virus worried me a lot because I have many of the medical conditions that put me in the high-risk categories. But beyond the fear of COVID was my ongoing medical issues. I was having a difficult time getting an appointment for my health issues. It wasn’t until many of the COVID protocols were in place that I was able to see my doctors for my existing medical issues. That took away a lot of the stress that I had during COVID.”
Everyone has been dealing with the stress of COVID but those with existing medical conditions have had to be concerned with contracting the COVID virus as well as the lack of attention to their existing medical conditions.