Self-Care for Doctors During COVID19
Please find below personal health advice only for doctors and medical students. DHQ cannot provide clinical advice regarding COVID-19. Queenslanders who require health advice or information while in quarantine or self-isolation should continue to call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or visit the Queensland Health website. Alternatively you can call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
Psychological responses of health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
A downloadable resource by Margie Stuchbury with thanks to Dr Karen Gaunson, Dr Kym Jenkins & Prof Brett McDermot.
Minding Healthcare Workers – download here
- STOP, BREATHE, then THINK – slowing your breathing slows the stress cycle and re-engages your frontal lobes – then you can think.
- Seek information updates as specific times once or twice a day. Avoid sudden, near-constant streaming of news reports. This can cause anyone to feel worried. Choose sites where you can get the facts eg health.gov.au
- Beware dramatic language that might panic your colleagues.
- Advice on how to transition to home – perhaps you can do a ‘cartoon’ again…
Be prepared for issues that may arise, then some examples:
- Moral distress as healthcare is rationed.
- Exhaustion can creep up on you when you are running on adrenaline.
- Sometimes our processing of family and other home issues may slow our processing of the health information as the concepts merge together – be prepared that this may happen and recognise when it is.
- Proactively manage both your physical and your psychological health to ensure you can maximise your function.
- Promote peer support – Senior staff should model this approach.
- It’s ok to say you’re not ok – Senior staff should model this approach.
- Don’t forget the basics – food, sleep, breaks.
- Don’t bring your work home – not the germs, not the stress. Self-reflection can help us determine how to best manage these boundaries.
Click here to be taken to the ICS page for more information.
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Self-Care Advice from Doctors’ Health South Australia
SELF-CARE FOR DOCTORS IN A COVID WORLD – Five Principles
- Optimise your immune system by avoiding fatigue and sleep deprivation, alcohol and smoking.
- Come to work fully rested and adequately hydrated.
- Ensure your diet has plenty of fruit and vegetables and add a supplement of oral vitamin C (250mg) and zing (25mg) on a daily basis. Eat modest amounts of really good food.
- Walk, exercise to around 2.5 hours each week. Don’t overdo it and avoid it late in the evening.
- Maintain your non-medical interests and pursuits when away from work. These are invigorating.
- PPE is good for you. Doctors work in risky work environments. Use PPE.
- Aim for best practice at work – frequent hand washing and make full use of gloves and masks.
- Insist on good signage and staff training at work to protect your key personnel at work.
- Carry disposable gloves to wear when not at work such as when using public transport, shopping or public bathroom facilities. Avoid sick people when not at work.
- Avoid stress emanating from COVID news overload and excessive exposure to early morning and late evening news.
- Ensure you are fully immunised against influenza.
- Remain well-informed, using a reliable single source of information.
- Maintain a calm and consistently positive manner, whilst leading by example with hand washing and using PPE.
- Avoid endorsing unqualified sources of COVID information.
- Do not go to work if unwell. Support colleagues who are u we’ll and are not at work.
- Encourage your colleagues to consistently aim for best practice.
- Role model for others, especially staff, students and patients.
- Remind all staff and colleagues at every opportunity of the standard expected.
Pathway of care (for yourself or a colleague)
- Seek the formal care from your own GP where possible. We encourage this strongly.
COVID-19 resources by college (not all colleges listed)
Government Clinical Advice
Federal Government clinician advice
University of Toronto – Post MD Education: Psychological First Aid Health Care COVID-19 Workbook
Responsive Webinar Series On-Demand: Webinar #3 Health & wellbeing for rural and remote doctors and healthcare professionals with Dr Margaret Kay & Dr Anne Ulcoq
BMJ: Self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic
JAMA Network: Understanding and Addressing Sources of Anxiety Among Health Care Proefssionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Head to Health provides links to trusted Australian online and phone supports, resources and treatment options
Cognitive Institute: Looking After Yourself – Self-care through COVID-19 webinar
RANZCP: Physician Wellness in the era of Covid webinar recording
“A Guide to Understanding and Coping with Compassion Fatigue” resource from Online MSW Programs
The Pandemic Kindness Movement is a new website created by clinicians across Australia, working together to support all health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The site offers respected, evidence-informed resources and links to valuable services to support the wellbeing of the health workforce.
FRONTLINERS Supporting those who are caring for people during the COVID-19 crisis.
WRaP EM resources and an evolving list of recommended reading and listening for the individual and your departments, that may help as part of a wellbeing plan, in this era of COVID.
blackdoginstitute.org.au Support and resources during COVID-19.