Marilyn Gardner

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| How TO SUPPORT THOSE DIRECTLY
IMPACTED BY COVID-19

Marilyn Gardner Milton
Since the beginning of 2020, the world has experienced a dangerous outbreak of the COVID-19. A virus that started in Wuhan, China, has spread worldwide, killing people as it disrupts people's social, economic, and political lives. The numerous deaths and changes of customary burial practices have left victims psychologically, emotionally, and mentally hurt.
The following are ways in which COVID-19 victims can get support in overcoming the trauma:

1. Explore safe ways in which patients and loved ones may get contact.
Up-to-date and accurate information regarding the family's risk during contact with the patient should be made available. Such connections are essential since COVID-19 patients require psychological support from their families. Psychological counseling to victims will help them face reality.

2. Role of spiritual advisors, religious leaders, and local leaders.
The health practitioners should work closely with the community leaders and religious leaders in exploring alternative practices that will allow physical distancing during the funeral process. Some communities may become resistant to the authority's measures; hence, religious and local leaders' involvement in coming up with an amicable solution. The process must incorporate the religious and cultural values of the people.

3. Provision of end-of-life companionship by Health workers to those without close relatives.
Some of the victims of the COVID -19 have got no close relatives to give them emotional support. The health care system should come up with an end-of-life companionship program to support those in critical conditions.

4. Open and transparent communication with the family of the deceased.
Open and transparent communication with the family of the deceased helps in eliminating any uncertainty that may arise. It also helps reduce the psychological and emotional effects on the bereaved.
The family members, community, and religious leaders should get all the information on the planned care protocols, but they should be allowed to identify the burial sites.

5. Strengthening of the physical, administrative, and human resources for local mortuaries.
Strengthening of the local mortuary capacities is an urgent matter as they have never faced such a pandemic. Caring for the deceased should also be enhanced to reduce the emotional stress on their families. There should be proper handling of the deceased in a manner that will accord them the necessary respect.

6. Proper psychological support systems for Health care workers.
Health care practitioners exposed to high mortality rates are becoming stressed; hence need to be supported emotionally. Counseling services are, therefore, essential for health workers.

It is the role of everyone in the community to support those affected by COVID-19. The media plays a very vital role in reporting about the pandemic. Credible journalism is very critical as some sensitive images have a huge psychological impact on the victims. However, media influence will help reduce the spread of the pandemic.

Originally published to marilyngardnermilton.net.
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