Turning COVID-19 Right-Side Up!

June 2, 2020

Kristin Hoffman, MS., CCC-SLP

We all know that COVID-19 stands for the novel Corona Virus Disease of 2019, but when we hear this said aloud, it sends negative emotions rushing through our brains and into our lungs. We as caregivers cannot let a new unknown stop us from our passion: caring for those who need us most. It became apparent how I wanted to start this blog while folding masks to send to a group of nurses. If you develop feelings of uncertainty or sadness due to the news and sudden changes in your lives and livelihood, try out my caregiver’s acronym the next time you hear or see COVID-19!

Caregiver’s Acronym to COVID-19:

C: Care

O: Optimism

V: Vigilance

I: Inspire

D: Dedication

19: Giving them 19 times more positivity than before

Growing up with a nurse as a mother, seeing family members become full-time caregivers to my grandparents, and becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist certainly impact the way I see this pandemic. It is terrible for communal socialization, the economy, our PPE supply, and the morale of our frontline workers. But in all this chaos, we are seeing the true need for connection, engagement, and unity.

Upon my daily reflections, I ponder several thoughts: Who haven’t I reach out to in a while? What hobby did I forget about? What do I want to learn today? How can I make someone else’s day better?

I suspect some of you are experiencing similar thoughts (unless you have children, which in that case, their homework takes precedence!). My thoughts may also be like those of the residents in our living communities or hospitals, as their days are likely filled with monotony and a lack of connection.

As caregivers and therapists, we have the ability to use the COVID-19 acronym every day while following our daily tasks and resident goals. We CARE and listen to the residents’ feelings about missing their loved ones, difficulty with change, loneliness and isolation. Our response is that we show compassion in return. Being OPTIMISTIC, even in a less than perfect situation, will help ease anxiety, allowing the residents to focus on their goals. We know that we will not stop the spread of the virus with bubble popping and kitten videos, so VIGILANCE to handwashing, following procedures, and keeping yourself healthy is of the utmost importance. INSPIRE someone every day with your actions! There are so many creative ways to have fun and learn something new. At your disposal is your new best friend, iN2L. iN2L has more than 4,000 different possibilities to help you learn something new or practice staying busy. Of course, don’t forget the Internet, which has endless ideas that can help you inspire someone to learn sign language, explore a new place, show motivational news stories from around the country, or create success by learning a new game together. DEDICATION is the most important, since you are in high demand. Although these are strange times, your team is committed to helping make each day much easier, in turn allowing the residents to appreciate what you do for them, and so much more.

Nothing I said is new or based on research, but sometimes we need to realize a negative headspace can delay the acceptance of goals, reduce motivation, cause depression, and sometimes trigger anxiety. Let us work together to be the heroes our residents and cohorts need, as their source of comfort and laughter. At iN2L, we have your back. We have provided an idea guide for your therapists as a reminder of some content to use while most of the population is in isolation. We’ve also linked to several resources on our website.

Let us know if you need assistance optimizing your iN2L systems or are in need of a personal webinar. We’re here to provide support and to help you all stay connected!

COVID-19 Therapy Resources:

Free Printable Activity Resources: https://in2l.com/covid-19/

Scheduled iN2L Webinars: http://in2lonline.com/trainingcatalog/index.html

ASHA Updates: https://www.asha.org/About/Coronavirus-Updates/

AOTA Webinars: https://www.aota.org/Conference-Events/Coronavirus-COVID19.aspx

AOTA Resources: https://www.aota.org/coronavirus

APTA Resources: http://www.apta.org/Coronavirus/