Ohio’s healthcare staff struggles with burnout amid increase in COVID patients, worker shortage

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 10:39 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - With COVID-19 cases on the rise and Northeast Ohio hospitals packed to the brim with patients, area healthcare staff are dealing with an increasing amount of stress as they struggle to keep up with demand amid a continuing shortage of workers.

Meanwhile, area healthcare systems are working on ways to help with staff prevent and treat burnout.

“It is very hard, because it is relentless and you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Daniel Simon with University Hospitals.

Dr. Simon told 19 News he’s grateful for each and every staff member with the number of staff dwindling at not just UH, but at virtually every other healthcare system across the county.

Exhaustion is one big reason behind the exodus of doctors and nurses in the U.S.

“There have been many healthcare workers who have not only thrown in the towel, but have said they are never coming back,” said Dr. Simon.

Dr. Simon said UH offers various resources and pick-me-ups to staff dealing with overload.

“We have volunteers and others to help support and provide everything from meals to massages to acupuncture to stress relief to yoga, whatever we can do,” he said.

Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, has a tool called “Code Lavender,” which healthcare staff can use when a stressful event or series of stressful events happens in the hospital.

According to Cleveland Clinic:

“After the code is called, the Code Lavender team responds within 30 minutes.

The Code Lavender team usually comprises representatives from the spiritual care and healing services departments, and other hospital-based support services (such as employee assistance, music therapy, wellness, the ethics consultation service, and art therapy), and volunteers.

According in to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare sector has lost nearly half a million workers since February 2020.

“They step up and they do the extra shifts and we’re grateful,” Dr. Simon said.

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