As we have endured the past few months of COVID-19 and all of the changes that have come along with this pandemic, we have been led to learn a lot in this time. We have learned a lot about ourselves, with many working from home or suddenly balancing work and home schooling. We have learned how rapidly the provision of healthcare can change with the introduction of telehealth. We have also learned that people do not always “avoid it like the plague”, thus the need for public education and presence of trusted experts providing education in the media. Additionally, while working with people with diabetes, we may realize just how vital it is that we are providing “care” as Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists.
During the time of COVID-19 and working in healthcare, I think we have a learned a lot about empathy. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Having empathy for those affected directly by the virus, those care for loved ones that are quarantining at home, those in the hospital how have been unable to have visitors, and those who have lost all sense of routine as they are working from home or currently unemployed. While for some of us, we have stayed in good health and have been able to continue working, the impact of this pandemic may seem to have hit lightly. But as we care for our clients, they come to us with their exasperation, voicing their struggles during this time- they are not necessarily expecting us to solve these problems, but simply to actively listen and provide empathy.
Many of our clients feel lost- now being at home and feeling the stress of the world, finding comfort in food, then struggling with the feeling of control slipping through their fingers. Some may feel helpless without the access to the fitness center they rely on for physical activity. Perhaps they feel as though going to the pharmacy to pick up medication or even going to the doctors office is unsafe due to the risk of exposure. When these issues are presented to us, we must listen and process these concerns with an empathetic mind. The ability to provide empathy when working with people with diabetes undoubtedly improves outcomes and supports our patients' ability to adhere to self care routines, especially those which have been terribly disrupted during times like these. As we care for our clients, we identify these new barriers to care and address it- assuring our patients that they have the power to regain a sense of control over their health, that their trusted providers and educators are here for them, even throughout the most difficult times. #IL#Memebrsupport
We have learned throughout this, while amidst a pandemic, that with millions of Americans living with chronic illness, the need for access to healthcare, education, and support from healthcare professionals simply does not subside. So as providers and as educators, we have paved the way forward through new telehealth procedures and began problem solving through new barriers with the singular goal of being there to care for our clients. While we may not currently be working as a “front-line hero”- we continue to persistent in providing education and empathetic care for people with diabetes.