The COVID-19 pandemic has turned life upside down in the last few months. Our professional, social, and family lives have been changed in ways that may never be the same again. We all know the issues with many workplaces and schools being closed and social events, including our wound care meetings, being cancelled. Changes in how we live our lives have affected us all, from not being able to shake hands with people to being told we have to wear facemasks when in public to dealing with changes in work schedules/environments, while having all family members home most of the time. We have had to learn to depend on the internet to communicate with friends and colleagues and to order the things we need since we should avoid going to the stores. Despite the loosening of the restrictions in some areas, nothing is back to “normal.”
During all of this, many have had their life goals change. As health care providers, our professional goals have consistently been to care for the people who need our help; unfortunately, even this has been interrupted. Many have had to close their wound centers or practices or severely restrict hours and patient visits because of the virus. Even those of us who have been able to continue working during this time have been working under numerous restrictions. Instead of welcoming everyone who had a problem to the wound center to be seen, the focus seemed to shift to screening everyone so no one who might have the viral infection could get into the wound center—no matter the status of their problem. I fully understand the issues with protecting the staff from a viral infection, but does it have to come at the expense of the health of our wound care patients?
Because of the concerns about the pandemic, many patients have refused to come to the wound center for fear of contracting the virus. In our facility in Montgomery, Alabama, we had patients who underwent major leg amputations and toe amputations after their problems worsened as a result of their fear of coming to the wound center for care or because of a lack of appropriate care during this time. Numerous patients were on the road to healing, but they now have endured major setbacks due to the same issues. I am sure we shall see more of these problems as patients who have not been seen for 4 to 6 months continue to return to in-person visits. These are truly sad situations.
As the pandemic situation begins to improve and more of our patients are able to resume receiving routine care, I hope that we remember the words of Stephen Covey: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” As we go forward, no matter what the future may look like, as health care providers our main thing is to help others and to be available in their time of greatest need.