By official estimates, the COVID-19 death toll is approaching a quarter of a million people. Unofficially, the number likely is much higher – with no end in sight.
This insidious virus has been harsh on the elderly among us – especially your residents – who are getting sick and dying in disproportionate numbers. As bad as that reality is – and it is terrible – it hardly accounts for all the pain in our midst.
For as many of us are seeing first hand, the suffering also extends to family members and staff.
How many workers in this field have been the last person to make eye contact with a resident dying from COVID-19? Hundreds? Thousands? It’s difficult to quantify the psychological toll this experience must be taking on those who labor in this sector. But surely, the lingering effects must be profound.
Then there are the families. Many cannot even be present with their loved ones at the end. No hand holding. No final conversations. Think there’s not lasting emotional fallout from that? Surely, grief-induced anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder must be at record levels. Or soon will be.
We are hearing more about the way services and buildings will need to be addressed going forward. What we are not hearing much about is how to help those damaged souls among us who must find a way to carry on.
The need for healing in this field is great. In fact, there may be none that’s greater.