Review: COVID-19: Peer support and crisis communication strategies to promote institutional resilience

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Review: COVID-19: Peer support and crisis communication strategies to promote institutional resilience

Review: COVID-19: Peer support and crisis communication strategies to promote institutional resilience

In this article, recommendations from previous health crises of effective communication and support strategies to promote resilience are offered to improve the mental health of health care workers.

Health care providers and staff members may experience declining mental health when caring for COVID-19 patients, especially if working environments are not supportive. To reduce the potential for distress and burnout, which could lead to posttraumatic stress disorder or other chronic conditions, three crisis management strategies are propsosed for responding to this pandemic:

  • Provide leadership focused on resilience
    • Effective crisis communication provides a clear, realistic plan; takes decisive action; and facilitates frequent, open communication.
  • Structure crisis communications to provide information and empowerment
    • Leadership should provide up-to-date information, what is being done to protect health care workers, and steps to take if exposed.
  • Create a continuum of staff support within the organization
    • Leaders should normalize mental health concerns, advocate for personal wellness, and identify support resources.

Previous health care crises have demonstrated the value in creating peer support teams to provide psychological first aid and emotional support for health care workers. Feeling supported leads to greater resiliency.

Because the United States is still in the early phase of this pandemic, where health care response is in the heroic phase, now is the time to plan for a longer, disillusionment phase when health care workers’ emotional needs will be more present and need attention.

|2020-04-10T10:53:50-04:00April 10th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: COVID-19: Peer support and crisis communication strategies to promote institutional resilience

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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