Creativity in the time of COVID
This year, I think everyone can agree, has been unusual – surreal actually.
A tiny virus, COVID-19, shut down the world for months and even now, we find our daily lives unbalanced and skewed. Businesses have closed, homes have been turned into schools, offices, playgrounds and hospitals. Large gatherings are ill-advised and discouraged. Yet, with all this chaos, people are learning to adapt and adjust.
The StewARTworks Foundation, like many other nonprofit organizations, is rethinking and reshaping our fund and friendraising model. This year, we will transform our annual benefit from an in-person gallery event to a virtual “Live from the Leavitt Living Room” experience.
This pandemic has exposed many cracks in our existing health care system, especially in terms of delivery and equality. But it has also thrust into the spotlight several important but often overlooked aspects of health care.
- Because of COVID-19, many people have been forced into becoming first-time caregivers, joining the ranks of 44 million current family caregivers in the U.S.; spurring a new appreciation of the many tasks and roles caregivers perform for their loved ones living with life-threatening illnesses, chronic diseases and disabilities. These words from former First Lady Rosalynn Carter are as important as ever: “There are four kinds of people in this world – those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”
- Palliative care teams have taken a lead role in expanding their services by bridging the physical chasm between families and hospital personnel created by COVID. These teams are facilitating communication, providing counseling and engaging in problem solving all to support patients, families and medical providers. It is still unknown what lingering effects COVID will have on the long-term health of all those who have contracted the virus and survived. Palliative care’s unique skills and strengths – improving quality of life, assessing patient’s goals, pain and symptom management, advance care planning, and support for caregivers – will be needed in the on-going care for those patients and their families, long into the future.
- Before the pandemic, the need for advance directives was a conversation no one wanted to have with their doctor, their family or themselves. Now, there is a stunning realization of the importance of those documents and a new urgency to begin to have those conversations, make decisions and put those decisions in writing.