Title of ArticleThe place of person-centred care in an international response to the Covid-19 pandemic
Type of ArticleEditorial
Author/sGemma Stacey
ReferenceVolume 10, Issue 1, Editorial
Date of PublicationMay 2020

As the world grapples with the immediate need to respond to the impact and effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, health and care workers globally are faced with extraordinary challenges on a day-to-day basis. The context and conditions within which they are delivering and leading care are unparalleled. We know from the vast number of mainstream and social media reports that they are hugely concerned for the health and wellbeing of their patients, their families and themselves. This burden has the potential to have a significant impact on their welfare.

Ordinarily we would assume that these conditions would place health and care practitioners in a mindset defined by threat and fear, both of which have been shown to have a detrimental effect on their ability to offer compassionate and person-centred care to their patients (Coetzee and Klopper, 2010). In these circumstances, we typically see high levels of conflict within teams and instances of workplace adversity, leading to a working environment perceived as hostile, abusive and unrewarding (McDonald et al., 2016). This has been empirically observed as leading to emotional blunting, with indifference towards the profession and poor responsiveness to patients’ needs (Najjar et al., 2009). As a consequence, workplace adversity is correlated with decreased quality of care, higher mortality and failure to rescue (Cheung et al., 2008).

The description above could not be further from the reaction health and care professionals are displaying in the current circumstances. What we actually see is commitment, pride and personal sacrifice to enable a collective fight to overcome the global pandemic. Division between professional groups appears to have been replaced by a collaborative endeavour, where each group demonstrates significant respect for the contribution of the others. There has been public recognition and gratitude for the work of health and care practitioners, which is having a positive impact on the social value placed on the provision of care. Significantly, governing bodies, political and healthcare leaders have publicly protected and championed their professions to enable frontline practitioners to feel supported in their endeavours to offer the best care possible in the most challenging circumstances. In England, a threat to this support has come in the form of limited access to personal protective equipment and Covid-19 testing for staff. This has the potential to undermine the collective message if not addressed in a responsive and meaningful manner. The global nature of the situation would suggest that these threats are being experienced internationally.

This article by Gemma Stacey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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