Despite the ever-increasing proportion of burnout in healthcare workers amid another COVID-19 surge, healthcare professionals equitably allocate limited resources to provide adequate care. You need to decide how to do it.
COVID-19 has dominated health news for the past three years. This makes it easy to forget about other problems facing the US healthcare system. The incidence of heart disease, Algiemer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, chronic liver disease, and stroke all increased during the pandemic, and COVID-19 removed many of these problems from social awareness. NBC..
These illnesses can be life-threatening if left untreated.Due to the recent surge in Omicron cases, Dane County for the period of January Was missing A resource for providing medical care to all patients who need it. UW Hospital was forced to postpone Tier 3 and Tier 4 surgical cases, which could only be postponed for up to a week or two, said Dr. Jeff Pothoff, the hospital’s chief quality officer, about NPR.
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This dilemma raises new questions. So how does the hospital decide who will receive these limited resources?
The ethics behind this question is easier to think of as a thought experiment than to actually do it. According to Karola Kreitmair, UW Associate Professor of Bioethics, who worked with UW Hospital and Wisconsin to design a resource allocation policy during a pandemic.
Kreitmair said a change in mindset has taken place in the minds of healthcare professionals in deciding whether to prioritize inpatients or future patients.
“”Under normal circumstances, we have this first-come-first-served idea … and sometimes that means we do a lot more than what is really beneficial, “Kreitmair said. “But when we have such a shortage, it’s a problem to think about doing things on a first-come, first-served basis.”
Kreitmair said it is important to provide resources to the individuals who will benefit most from them. This decision can be difficult for healthcare providers, as it may require the current patient to be discharged, essentially violating the idea of ”tort rights”.
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These guidelines for allocating resources to patients with the highest chance of survival are more complicated when considering fairness concerns, even if that means discharge of inpatients.Black, Native American, and Latin populations can all be 2-3 times higher hospitalization From COVID-19 than whites.
“When allocating these resources, we cannot compare people as objective clinical criteria as to who is most likely to survive. These inequalities need to be corrected to some extent.”
Another important factor that reduces the amount of care a hospital can provide is burnout of health care workers, especially among nurses. Approximately 20% of health care workers resign during the pandemic, and the remaining 60-75% have reported fatigue, depression, and sleep disorders since the onset of the pandemic. US News..
As CNA at Melita Hospital, Audrey Gabler said the pandemic situation changed her work environment, especially from a mental health perspective. WGabler said general morale and mental health were really “sick” and that Melita’s nursing union helped nurses stop burnout and promoted a supportive atmosphere.
“We all experienced this kind of fatigue and burnout, but you’re all together,” Gabler said. “I have never experienced a community that supports and helps you more than the nurses and assistants I work with.”
Even before the pandemic began, burnout was a concern for health care managers. A paper published in the NCBI suggests that bureaucratic work, excessive working hours, and computerization of medical care are all factors in hospital staff burnout... Nonetheless, the pandemic has certainly exacerbated the already overwhelming nature of nursing and nursing assistant duties, Gabler said. At UW Health, there is no union of nurses as an alternative support system, creating an ongoing conflict between hospital nurses and managers.
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Another source of cThe recent surge in COVID-19 has focused on the number of unvaccinated people in the hospital, contributing to resource shortages and controversy over who to stop taking care of. .. People who are not completely vaccinated, according to the Department of Health Services It was hospitalization With COVID-19 at a rate 10 times higher than the fully vaccinated one.
Regarding the ethics of caring for unvaccinated individuals, Kreitmair said it was not the role of the medical professional to judge the patient’s decision in her opinion. Healthcare professionals should approve care according to policy, regardless of vaccination status.
“It is not appropriate for medicine to be … a judge of the patient’s moral value,” Kreitmair said. “The job of a healthcare provider is to benefit patients.”