To state the obvious, information about the pandemic caused by novel Coronavirus is coming at us like water from a firehose. News outlets provide continual breaking updates, and we’ve become familiar with faces from the CDC, World Health Organization, and National Institutes of Health – especially the reliable go-to Dr. Anthony Fauci. Staying up to date is important on a personal level to ensure our own health and safety and that of our loved ones, but business owners – especially those on the front lines of healthcare – need reliable information on a whole other level. Read on to learn about sources that can provide some support in uncertain times.
Answering Patient Questions
-NCPA® Resources. Perhaps the most targeted Coronavirus-related website for community pharmacists, the NCPA’s new webpage is a smorgasbord of information, from how to protect your own health to how to talk to patients. There are FAQs on testing, links for downloadable posters, tips for social distancing, and much, much more.
-CDC Resources. Among the questions people are asking pharmacists amidst the outbreak is whether they should get tested. With the push to get more tests widely available, the answer can be challenging and dependent on where you live. Check your state health department or the CDC website (you can link to state health departments from the CDC map; also be sure to visit the section for healthcare providers). For printable and video guidance to post in your pharmacy or distribute to patients, visit this link. For tips on preparing your store, this can help.
-Resources from the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).The organization has a robust site for Coronavirus information targeted at pharmacists, including a downloadable report titled “Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 outbreak: Information and interim guidelines for pharmacists and the pharmacy workforce” (available in multiple languages). There’s also a quick-read chart illustrating how pharmacists can advise patients who are asking questions about their COVID-19 health status and risk of infection.
Continuing to Do Business
-OSHA Factsheet. As a business owner, you have special responsibility for implementing proper protocols with your employees. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has many resources on Coronavirus response, this factsheet is a quick read of important things to know. It also points you toward additional resources for the high-risk workplace.
-Small Business Administration Guidance. The potential economic strain from the Coronavirus pandemic is top of mind for everyone, and small business owners face unique issues. Read more at the SBA’s website Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources – particularly the “Common Issues Small Businesses May Encounter” section. You may also want to investigate the disaster loan program.
Dealing with the Emotional Effects
APA’s Pandemic Resources. As an article from the American Psychological Association points out, most people are creatures of habit. When things go as planned, we feel in control. But when life throws a curveball, it can leave us feeling anxious and stressed. The Coronavirus outbreak certainly fits that definition. The APA has created a resource page on dealing with mental and emotional repercussions from the outbreak and the social isolation it’s requiring. You can also read some of their tips here on dealing with anxiety in general.
Harvard Health Blog. Not all posts here are virus-focused, but most of the recent ones address it in some way and provide useful advice on the more human side of dealing with the pandemic. You’ll find articles on the challenges of having kids home from school, talking to teens about Coronavirus, concerns about pregnancy during the outbreak, and how to avoid feeling emotionally distant during this period of social distancing.
Of course, there are many additional, solid, useful resources on COVID-19 than listed here, and you will need to do a bit of digging for the specific answers that you need even within the resources provided above. But we can all be grateful during this rapidly shifting health event that so many organizations are working hard to keep us updated with the best information available. Like the old public service announcements used to say: “The more you know…”