Local Opinion: A way to help Tucson healthcare workers keep their loved ones safe

Apr 19, 2020

The following is the opinion and analysis of the writers:

To Tucson’s health-care workers on the frontlines protecting our communities from COVID-19, THANK YOU.

As medical, public health, and health social science professionals, we share your concerns about transmitting COVID-19 to your families. The experience of health-care workers in COVID-19 surge conditions in other cities in the United States and other countries tell us your fears are valid.

In the coming weeks, Arizona hospitals will almost certainly fill beyond capacity with patients requiring hospitalization and critical care for COVID-19.

Fear of infecting families and community members has led many health-care workers in other cities to self-quarantine in isolated environments, including garages, or even in personal vehicles.

Arranging for safe housing, if you choose to self-quarantine, and emotionally supporting your families for the duration of this crisis are burdens that you should not bear alone.

We offer a local solution:

HCW HOSTED: Coordinating Community Support for Healthcare Workers (HCW) and their Families is an initiative created with a threefold mission:

1. Coordination of comfortable housing for health-care workers away from their families: All health-care workers including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, environmental specialists and others on the front lines are invited to visit our website www.hcwhosted.org

For those who enroll in HCW HOSTED, we will monitor your health status through daily text messages. The website also has links to mental health and other support services and information for health-care workers, who can use these services regardless of whether they are participating in housing opportunities.

2. Coordination of support services for health-care worker’s families: HCW HOSTED provides mental health and wellness support services for the spouses/partners of health-care workers and their children.

3. Coordinating community involvement: Our initiative is responsive to the feedback of health-care workers. As we learn more about their needs, we will mobilize community resources to respond in constructive and timely ways.

Opportunities to donate and support health-care workers, including but not limited to housing, will be forthcoming on our website. Community members, if you have an empty house (not a room), a guest house, a casita or an apartment and would be willing to offer it to health-care workers in need of safe accommodation away from their families, please go to www.hcwhosted.org and click on “Provide Housing.”

To all our health-care workers, know that your community appreciates the high quality, compassionate health care that you provide to all of us in Tucson and Pima County.

As members of the community, we recognize that during this crisis, we need to support you as much as you support us. We have your back.