How the Evergreen Health System Revolved to Support Physician Well-Being
Kirkland, Washington’s Evergreen Health System was one of the first health systems in the country to experience a patient and an outbreak of COVID-19. Pratima Sharma, MD, executive medical director of Evergreen Health, spoke to the American Medical Association about how the system handled the new experience.
Dr Sharma explained that when they realized they had patients who were positive for COVID, it created fear and confusion.
“How is this going to affect my health? The health of my family? The health of my staff? There were no masking guidelines. There were no social distancing guidelines back then “she said.
The CDC arrived quickly within the first three days of the confirmed positive results, and with the help of consultants, the system followed guidelines, updating them whenever new information came to light. Dr Sharma said it was crucial to communicate frequently with staff about decisions and their reasons: âWe immediately set up a command center. We were able to send our daily update emails to all of our staff and our community. an almost instantaneous basis. “
The healthcare system then used a flexible approach to ensure that staff with different challenges and demands got the help they needed. They created a shared leave, contacted local churches and childcare organizations for childcare assistance, as well as an employee assistance fund.
Although the gaps in our knowledge about COVID-19 have narrowed, healthcare workers are still vulnerable to burnout and stress. Dr Sharma explained how Evergreen continues to support staff, especially in light of the increasing delta: âWe have our wellness committee. We have created Zen dens in the hospital where people can rest for a few minutes when they need it. The town halls continued and we have a very solid base. We cannot take the stress of the pandemic away, but we want to support our staff and our doctors. “