Acute Healthcare Is Feeling the Impact of COVID-19

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Against the harrowing backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, HealthStream conducted a survey of acute care healthcare leaders in May of 2020. We had heard a great deal about the heroism of front-line staff and their efforts to care for patients, even though they lacked adequate protective equipment and medical supplies such as ventilators. We wanted to hear more of the story from the managers and executives who were in charge behind the scenes, including what they are worried about and their priorities as they continue to navigate their teams through this pandemic.

Acute Healthcare Is Reeling from the Impact of COVID-19

Most survey respondents were actively involved in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Some 70.1% reported that they were currently treating COVID-19 patients. An additional 25% said they were preparing to treat COVID-19 patients.

Most hospital leaders had high confidence in their ability to care for pandemic patients. The majority of leaders said they were either VERY (19.6%) or MOSTLY (35.8%) confident of their ability to care for COVID-19 patients.

Hospital leaders have been deeply impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Leaders strongly agreed (mean score = 8.8) that this pandemic has been the worst health crisis they have faced in their lifetime. They highly agreed that the outbreak has had a major impact on their facility (mean = 8.5) and that they are taking a hard financial hit at their facility (mean = 8.5). Here, leaders are corroborating the bleak financial news reported above by the AHA.

With a mean score of 8.2, leaders also admitted that this pandemic will forever change how they operate their facility.

Are Hospitals Prepared for COVID-19?

In the graph below, leaders were less likely to agree that they have all the training, protective gear, and testing equipment they need. Many are also concerned that they will be infected by the virus while at work.

Staffing Issues

Many leaders conceded that the virus had caused staffing issues.

  • Most agreed that it is harder to attract new workers with the pandemic sweeping the country.
  • Others agreed that their hospital has lost clinical staff because they are afraid of contacting the virus while at work.

Hospital Priorities in the Face of COVID-19

Hospital leaders listed staff safety, quality of care, and COVID-19 training as top priorities for their facility.

The Importance of Training During COVID-19

Many respondents have used HealthStream’s learning platform to meet their training needs during the pandemic.

  • Nearly four in ten (38.9%) have used the HealthStream platform to access complementary courseware that was provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Some 28.5% have used the platform to train new employees on COVID-19 protocols and procedures.

    There were several areas where respondents would like to receive more support from HealthStream. Top mentions included:

  • Keeping yourself and other clinical staff safe from infection (66.2%)
  • Training on how to care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 (60.0%)
  • Training on how to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (50.3%)
  • Communicating with patients during this pandemic (49.7%)

    • Keeping staff safe during this pandemic was listed as the top priority, with a mean score of 9.8.
    • The following activities tied in second place with scores of 9.7:
      • Maintaining a high quality of care
      • Training staff on how to care for patients with COVID-19
      • Knowing what to do when patients present with symptoms of COVID-19
    • The lowest priority was attracting additional staff during the pandemic (mean = 6.0).

    About Survey Respondents

    HealthStream interviewed 840 healthcare leaders using an online survey tool during May of 2020. The majority of respondents represented hospitals that were part of a health system (60.6%) or a stand-alone hospital (14.8%). Most were between the ages of 45 – 64 (64.8%). More than half (54.8%) had worked in the healthcare industry for more than 25 years. Respondents were from senior Clinical/Nursing leadership (36.9%) or held Manager (27.2%) or Director (16.8%) level titles within their hospital. More than seven in ten (71.2%) worked as a leader in a clinical or nursing department in their organization; some 30.1% held a leadership role in education. [NOTE: Responses in the graph below total more than 100 because survey participants could check more than one answer.] Nearly two-thirds of respondents (73.6%) are current HealthStream customers.

    This blog post is the second based on “Hospital Leaders Say Covid-19 Is Worst Health Crisis of Their Career,” an article by Robin L. Rose, MBA, Vice President, Healthcare Resource Group, HealthStream.  Future posts will discuss survey results about the impact of COVID-19, organizational confidence, training, adequate equipment, priorities, and unmet needs during the pandemic.

    To support caregivers and healthcare organizations as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, HealthStream is offering a collection of carefully curated courses to all customers for free. Likewise, Using HealthStream’s Channels platform for video learning, we have a created a free-access COVID19 Channel in response to the COVID19 pandemic, specifically to support healthcare workers and their families. It contains a collection of curated videos provided by HealthStream and HealthStream’s content partners from several trusted sources on YouTube, such as the CDC and Mayo Clinic.

    PLEASE NOTE: The information in the article excerpted here was considered current at the time of its publishing. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-evolving disaster due to new findings, data, and availability of resources. Please refer to the CDC website for the latest detailed information when you need it.