How You Can Help Nurses & Healthcare Workers On The Front Line (Without Leaving Your Home)

Today is International Nurses Day, here's what you can do to help.

These coronavirus initiatives, from sewing scrubs to donating funds for emergency PPE, can be done without getting changed out of your PJs.

Thousands of incredibly brave people up and down the country are leaving their homes day in, day out to fight on the frontline of an invisible war.

HSE workers are routinely risking their lives to keep others alive – so it seems only right that we should join in supporting them during their darkest hour.

Granted, it might seem difficult to find ways to help during the COVID-19 crisis, given the big push for people to self-isolate. But there's plenty you can do to lend a hand during this outbreak that doesn't involve putting your own health or other people's at risk.

1. stay home

We know — you've heard it a million times. But it bears repeating.

Granted, it's been nearly ten weeks but that's no reason to get complacent. If you think you don’t have a huge role to play in how the coronavirus outbreak plays out, think again. You have the potential to make this pandemic so much worse. That’s because the coronavirus is both more contagious and more deadly than the common flu. One person can easily transmit it to other people without knowing it, and those people would then transmit it to even more people, creating a terrifying snowball effect. The good news is, just as you can easily transmit the virus to other people, you can easily avoid transmitting it — if you’re willing to stay home. That’s right: Simply by sitting on your couch, you can potentially save lives and help our frontline staff. 

2.donate equipment

NHS workers fear for their lives because of the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) available to them right now. It’s got to the point where schools, colleges and universities are having to step in and donate science lab goggles and other protective equipment to local hospitals.

A respiratory doctor at St James Hospital in Dublin has made a plea to the public to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. Anne Marie McLaughlin posted a video on social media thanking the public for their kind donations, saying they are ‘extremely grateful’. However, she stressed that the hospital is still low on PPE and any donations would be greatly appreciated by herself and staff at St James Hospital - particularly gowns. Holding up an example of such a gown, the doctor said: ‘We are looking for gowns that our healthcare workers can wear when visiting patients. These gowns are long-sleeve gowns, and they are made of a material which is impermeable to liquids. If you have such gowns available and you’re in a position to donate them, we would be most grateful. If you or anyone you know has such equipment, you can contact the frontline directly through their email [email protected]

3. advocate for aid

Call your local TD to ask what they’re doing to make sure that doctors and nurses in your county are getting access to PPE. Urge them to increase Irish manufacturing for masks, gowns, and other protective equipment, as well as military aid and hazard pay for workers.

Find their contact information, here. 

4. buy a meal

Some hospitals have shut down cafeterias, or severely limited the food options that are offered, so food is always welcomed by healthcare staff. The current pandemic has resulted in longer shifts and fewer breaks meaning most nurses won’t have time to go home and cook a meal between shifts. Or, they're working so much overtime, they don’t have time to meal prep.

Many local Irish restaurants are finding ways to deliver meals to healthcare workers, such as Coke Lane in Rialto, Camile Thai and Bujo Burger Joint in Bray. Do a little Google sleuthing to find out if any restaurants in your area are supporting local hospitals, and if so, call them up to donate money, or buy gift cards or meals to donate yourself.

You can also donate to a fundraiser called Feed The Heroes which raised over €550,000 in just two weeks. Through the Feed The Heroes initiative, more than 18,500 meals have been delivered nationwide to staff at the Covid-19 Testing Centres, HSE Contact Tracing, the National Ambulance Service and the Fire Brigade as well as hospital workers. If you want to contribute, you can do so here

5. sAY THANK YOU

Text or – better yet – call any healthcare workers you know personally, and thank them and offer whatever support you're capable of giving right now. Whether it's lending an ear or doing their food shop, a simple gesture goes a long way. Don't know any healthcare workers personally? You can find them on Twitter or Instagram and give them a virtual shout out, or send an email to a local hospital.

6. Help Pay For Parking

If you've ever experienced having a loved one spend a lengthy period in a hospital, you'll know all about how expensive hospital car parks can be. While most hospitals will have areas reserved for staff parking, it's either extremely limited and not free. If you know someone on the frontline, help pay for their parking - chances are they have a PayPal or Revolut account you can send money through. If not, call the car park of a local hospital and ask to pay for a staff member's parking. It's a slightly out-of-the-box way to help, but one that would be much appreciated.

7. give to charity

Donate money to a charity or organisation that helps healthcare workers and hospitals. There are plenty to choose from, including Our Hospital Hereos which is made up of a group of hospitals from all over Ireland, and funds raised will help hospitals to provide essential comforts to staff as they work on the frontline. Or give directly to hospitals in your area.

8. volunteer

Granted, this will require you leaving your house but if you've got free time on your hands and an essential skill, your hospital needs you. For example, if you’re an engineer and can generate a prototype of a face shield for 3-D printing. Or, if you are a great communicator on the phone – maybe you can offer your services to help the hospital answer patient questions. Perhaps, you speak another language and can help translate a sign or communications that your hospital needs to reach out to a specific community. For more information to volunteer on the frontline, click here or contact your nearest hospital and offer your services. 

9. Donate Blood

Along with surges of COVID-19 cases and shortages of PPE, hospitals are also dealing with relatively normal needs — such as maintaining a stable supply of blood for trauma victims, cancer patients and anyone else who requires a transfusion. Vist GiveBlood.ie to find out how you can donate blood in the current climate.

10. Show Your Appreciation 

On Thursday 26 March, thousands of people across the world took to their windows, front doorways and balconies to clap for the nation’s key workers, including the HSE staff fighting on the frontline to keep us all safe. This has now become a weekly event where people across the country continue to clap for our heroes at 8 pm each Thursday night. 

However, as today, May 12, is International Nurses Day the public has been asked to "shine a light" tonight to mark International Nurses Day and the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale birth. This will be done this year to recognise the efforts of nursing professionals around the world as they help to tackle coronavirus. The request is in recognition of the World Health Organisation (WHO) having designated 2020 as International Year of the Nurse to mark the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

Main image by @terriemcevoy on Instagram

READ: How You Can Help Your Local Beauty Salon In The Midst Of Coronavirus (Without Leaving Your House)

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