As manager of social work, Tiffany Courtnage is used to taking care of people’s emotional needs. But COVID-19 has taken that to a new level. “Everyone is having significant anxiety,” she says. There are so many concerns: Patients wonder how the virus will affect their treatment. Providers want to know how to support patients whose treatments or procedures are postponed. Many people are worried about finances.
Courtnage’s team spends much of their time helping address concerns about social isolation. Patients accustomed to showing up for treatment with a group of friends and family are now limited to just one caregiver and advised to strictly limit contact with others. “This is one of the hardest periods in their life and they’re feeling so alone,” she says. “With no visitors allowed, we are stepping up to be their listening ear and their support system.”
Staff are stressed too. Some are scared to come to work; others are exhausted. Courtnage sees it as a privilege to help employees get through this time. “My staff are the ones who hold space for their anxieties and their worries. We show them that they can go on.”