Front Line Healthcare Workers: Dedication, Determination, and Gratitude

We still have many on the front lines of the COVID 19 pandemic, fighting the battle to keep our residents safe in their homes. As the cases have spiked back up in areas of the country, and the population, the challenges are the same, but somehow it feels different. Are we more familiar with the virus? Has that familiarity, constant barrage of news every night about the number of cases, hospital rates, etc. affecting the way we see it? Is all of this coverage making us numb to the realities some still face? I am not sure, but I wanted to share a personal observation and bring awareness to what is still ongoing in our senior communities.

My wife is a Hospice nurse that is assigned to a local assisted living and memory care residence. She has put her head down for the last year, every day, donning full PPE, and caring for the most vulnerable among us. Her dedication to be there for her patients, and her determination to provide a comfortable end of life experience, has been a blessing to her patients, but also to me. It has opened my eyes to how the people in the healthcare profession have unselfishly been there for the people in their care.

At the onset of business closures and the quarantine, the healthcare workers didn’t have the luxury to just stay home in safety. My wife and her colleagues suited up and went to the front line. At a time when very little was known about COVID, they showed up. They provided care. They relentlessly protected their patients and residents, while many of us hunkered down in our homes. They became surrogates for families that could no longer be there for their loved one.

Over the past year, the hardest and most common ‘complaint” of people like my wife, if you could call it a complaint, was the difficult decision of restricting family members from seeing their loved ones. There was so much my wife and her colleagues could have complained about, but the common thread was keeping families connected to each other.

In hospice care it is particularly difficult when you have a dying patient. In the normal process, family members are by the bedside during end of life. That was no longer a given. Many patients would have been alone for most of that time if it were not for the care takers in the residential communities (Nurses, Aides, Administrators, staff). Although families were allowed at the ultimate end, the ability to comfort loved ones throughout the process was emotionally draining for family and caregivers.

There have been a lot of lessons learned throughout this pandemic, but my observation and takeaways are that their patients’/residents’ health and wellness, are in the fiber of the front-line healthcare professional’s soul and being. They are a special group that are determined and dedicated to everyone’s well- being. It is in their DNA.

My wife recently contracted COVID after keeping it at bay for nearly a year. She knew that there were residents and a few of her patients that had been diagnosed with COVID, but she still showed up. Donning full PPE, but somehow it was not enough. That is the definition of dedication. Her story is one of many. But this is one that I am extremely proud to share. She is handling it well so far and will be back to the front line soon.

The kindest thing we can do for our front-line healthcare workers is to show gratitude. If you are one, thank you for your dedication. If you know one, tell them that you appreciate what they do. These wonderful people are at the core of who we should be and who we are. Thank you for the love, kindness, and dedication you show every day! We are grateful for you!

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