A plea from hospital staff: be nicer

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On Monday, Queensway Carleton Hospital felt compelled to send out a series of tweets containing a disturbing message.

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About 90,000 people in the National Capital Region work in health services, or about one in seven workers.

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This means that there’s a good chance that many of us have a personal connection with at least one doctor or nurse – and that a good chunk of this city’s population should viscerally appreciate what health workers do. have endured since the start of the pandemic 16 months ago.

Still, Queensway Carleton Hospital felt compelled to send out a series of tweets with a disturbing message on Monday. The bottom line: Emergency department personnel are increasingly the targets of “verbal and physical assault” from patients and families. Please be nicer, the hospital tweeted: “We are all just doing the best.”

The hospital did not provide any examples of assault. A check with the Ottawa Police Service suggested that few, if any, of these emergency room incidents led to police intervention in the past month.

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Still, it’s no exaggeration to say that frustration has built up in city emergency rooms.

Multiple problems contribute to it. A key element has been the previous reluctance on the part of some patients to go to the emergency room for fear of being exposed to COVID-19. Result: an increased risk of ending up in ED with fairly advanced symptoms. These patients can be accompanied by family members who are now very concerned and on edge.

One of the hospital’s tweets in the channel posted Monday highlights the emotions felt by nurses and emergency room doctors. “We understand that when you come to the hospital you are scared, stressed and overwhelmed,” the hospital tweeted.

These sentiments also apply to many other patients who had delayed elective surgeries during the pandemic, but who, in the meantime, have symptoms requiring emergency care.

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There is also the question of the impact of COVID-19 on hospital staff, most of whom have been working very hard for more than a year. Regional health care employment levels in all but two of the past nine months have fallen year over year by two to seven percent.

The real impact on the profession will only be known when things return to more or less normal. For many other sectors, it will be sooner than for the health professions, which will have to spend many months clearing a huge backlog of surgeries once the back of COVID-19 is broken. Hospitals will also have to work hard to convince current and potential employees that they can have a fulfilling and safe workplace.

“Stay safe, Ottawa. We’re almost there, ”the Twitter channel concluded.

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