Already, Maine hospital workers and health care professionals are working around the clock caring for patients diagnosed and suspected to have COVID-19. Amidst the crisis, non-health care workers may be curious to learn about how they can help hospital workers. It might be tempting to try supporting these workers with direct food donations and other care packages, but there are better, more effective ways to help. If you’re feeling helpless and don’t know how to contribute to Maine’s fight againt COVID-19, here are a few ideas.
Skip the Food Donations – At Least to Hospital Workers
Other parts of the country are experiencing shortages of shelf-stable staples, like dry pastas, canned goods, and rice. While this type of shortage has yet to hit Maine, we’re currently bracing for impact. You may think that hospitals could be a good recipient for these goods, but that’s not always the case. Most hospitals are not set up or prepared to accept on-site donations. In many cases, your donation will likely not be accepted. If you have extra food, consider donating it to those in need through soup kitchens and pantries.
If you want to contribute directly to a hospital in any way, reach out to their communications staff. A lot of these workers are already working overtime and are in need of supplies, from protective gear to on-shift snacks. Ask health care professionals and their hospitals directly to understand what their needs are. To that end, sending a kind word to hospitals through social media is always appreciated.
Don’t Hoard Supplies
Hospitals around the country are already experiencing a critical shortage of personal protective gear supplies, including masks, shields, and gowns, as well as hand sanitizer. If you panicked and purchased a set of N95 masks, you likely don’t need them – not unless you yourself work in a health care setting. If you have medical equipment on-hand, consider donating it to hospitals. Reach out to hospital staff to understand how to get supplies to those who need them.
Do Your Part to Flatten the Curve
If you’re feeling helpless amidst this global pandemic, one of the best things you can do is to flatten the curve of the virus’s spread. Whether you think you’re sick or are not experiencing symptoms, staying at home is the best way to help hospital workers. By limiting personal contact with other people, you reduce your personal risk of contracting the virus, spreading the virus, and becoming critically ill. By flattening the curve, you can contribute to keeping Maine’s hospitals as clear as possible.