As we are seeing a changing approach to dealing with the Covid pandemic, we are witnessing some new challenges in healthcare. The changes we see in the sector are not unique to healthcare and not every place, as in rural, suburban, or urban settings where the changes are more significant or less extreme.
Where we see some of the biggest challenges are unsurprisingly in less populated places and in communities that face equity imbalances. No surprise there.
Treatment over time
In my region, we have seen a steady decline in the number of nurses working in hospitals and clinics overburdened. This happened before Covid but was made worse with each wave that hit as the pandemic washed over community after community.
Healthcare providers were hit hard, and the chronic low staffing served to make worse their jobs with each passing week, month, and year, and caused many to retire, take time out to prevent their burnout and get the rest they needed, not being superheroes as was the portrayal early in the pandemic.
Without question, not every hospital or every healthcare provider has experienced the same. Still, in my observations, it was sector-wide with the same or similar challenges in their work, day after day.
This has affected healthcare across the board, with no apparent or straightforward solution that will make a significant improvement anytime soon. I only hope that I am wrong and there will be real changes that will provide the necessary care that we all need and affects us individually and collectively.
The implications for people living with hep C have been less than ideal and generally overlooked for far too long. Fortunately, we see an increased interest in community-based organizations to take on in-person testing and linkage to care for at-risk populations.
These agencies are, by and large, engaged in providing harm reduction and housing and are serving a population that is too often overlooked.
I wanted to add this short note about my recent experience being hospitalized with covid and having pneumonia. Despite all the news about how healthcare is challenged in delivering care due to staffing shortages, I did receive the care I needed.
Once I was stabilized, I was sent home and returned for outpatient care for antiviral treatments.
They are doing the best they can, and in my experience, doing it well enough to save me from more severe disease. I should add that I am a person with access to care and resources without the barriers that still too many others face.
I am lucky. I wish it were not a case of being lucky or unlucky, and we all had the same ease of access, and that is why the work in hep C and affected communities is so crucial and essential to me.