September 30, 2020
For more than four decades, Outreach has provided a wide range of treatment and support for its New York communities. Specializing in substance use and addiction services, the organization helps individuals of all ages build healthier lives and reach their full potential through evidence-based treatments and training programs. Similar to nearly all care facilities throughout the country, Outreach and its staff have felt steep impacts from the pandemic–both on the organization and the providers.
Outreach has eight outpatient sites and four residential sites, with nearly 200 clinicians serving between the two modalities. In order to continue providing quality care to all consumers, the organization knew it needed to prioritize the health and wellbeing of its entire staff. It can be easy to forget that healthcare providers are people too, and they are not immune to the negative emotional and physical impacts of COVID-19.
In order to ensure clinicians are supported and heard as the pandemic continues to unfold, Outreach clinical directors installed frequent meetings with staff to check in on their emotional and physical wellbeing, in addition to other operational discussions. Clinicians need support too, and Outreach has worked to make sure their staff receives a proper and professional response to any personal trauma during this time.
“We’re all kind of in trauma response right now, dealing with situational depression, experiencing loss and grief and our own trauma,” Kelsey Silver, LMFT, Outreach Director of Quality and Information said. “All of our directors are previous clinicians, so speaking with their clinicians about this stuff comes pretty naturally.”
Unfortunately, emotional strain and the risk of catching COVID is not the only stressor clinicians are undergoing amid the pandemic. There are also administrative burdens to clinical workflows, which can lead to frustration and burnout if not properly addressed. Debbie Pantin, MSW, MS and President/CEO of Outreach speaks highly of the willingness of clinicians to shift and embrace technology in such a difficult time.
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