19:15 PM

The Psychosocial Toll of COVID-19

The Rheumatologist discusses a session facilitated by Adena Batterman, MSW, LCSW, senior manager of inflammatory arthritis support and education programs at HSS, at the 2020 virtual American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence, addressing the psychosocial toll on those who contract COVID-19, patients with rheumatic diseases, and caregivers for those with chronic illness.

Ethnic minorities, the poor, those in dense housing areas and essential workers are among those who are particularly vulnerable to these psychosocial issues, reported Batterman.

She noted all clinicians should have a keen eye open for those who need to be referred to special resources, as medical encounters are down and fewer opportunities exist to direct people to needed care. Support groups, faith-based organizations, mental health support via telehealth, and virtual exercise and mindfulness programs are available to help people experiencing extreme psychological distress and psychosocial issues. Although not a substitute for the services typically available, for some, these can be a valuable lifeline and resource for support and coping, explained Batterman.

Healthcare professionals also need to remember to take care of themselves. “We are healthcare providers, and we are healers. This is challenging work emotionally and physically—even before COVID-19, but of paramount importance right now,” noted Batterman. “I think we need to acknowledge this [fact] and allow this [experience] to be a reminder to practice self-compassion.”

Read the full article at the-rheumatologist.org.