Jason Little’s COVID-19 Update 4-13-20: Support for our Patients; Support for You

Good afternoon everyone. I have two requests of you today.

The first is to continue doing what you are doing to be the surrogate family for all those patients in our care. I have spoken with so many family members who desperately want to be with their loved ones in the hospital but who also respect the visitation guidelines that are in place to protect their own safety. Each time I have one of those calls, I make a promise to that family member. I promise them your best. I tell them that you are going to take care of that patient like its your own mother or father. And despite the stress of our current environment, I request that you help me keep that promise every day and all the time. I’ve heard too many stories for me to share today of how you are doing that. Right down to an entire department that paused to pray with a patient whose family was too far away to arrive in time. The COVID positive patient had advanced directives in place. And so the chaplain with all the staff huddled around, led prayer over the intercom speaker broadcast into patient’s room as she quietly and peacefully passed away. Just imagining that scene rips my heart out. But these are extraordinary times and you are acting in extraordinary ways.

This pandemic has had far reaching effects across our communities. For many, it is easy to become overwhelmed. It seems that everywhere we look, we are bombarded with continual updates, statistics, and specifics about this virus – that sometimes are changing minute by minute. Look, I understand this can cause an uneasy or unsettled feeling even for the most experienced of health care workers. We can have feelings of increased stress, or even anxiety. You are experiencing these minute by minute situations up close and personal on a daily basis while you bravely don your masks and gowns to care for a patient. I recognize how hard you are working, but I want you to understand that it is not just your physical health that is important to me. Your emotional and psychological health are just as important. So this leads me to my second request. If the demands of this job are impacting your emotional health, would you please reach out and speak to someone. We are so fortunate to have a wonderful benefit at Baptist – our Concern employee assistance program. Concern has provided expert and confidential support and counseling services to our system since the early 1990’s, and they remain available 24 hours a day seven days a week should you need to talk with someone. They are now offering phone and tele-health visits so you can connect with a licensed counselor, anywhere and anytime that is most convenient for you. Their number is 901-458-4000. Please call if you or anyone in your household could benefit from these services.

So two big requests today. Take care of our patients like they’re your family and take care of yourself and your family like their your patients. Both of these requests will allow Baptist to continue to stand up and be counted upon by so many who need us.

See you Wednesday.