BU’s CARD Offers Support for Commonwealth’s Nurses in Difficult Times
Also in our Coronavirus Friday Roundup: Online events for Earth Day
If you have a question or comment related to BU and its response to the COVID-19 crisis, on the subject of the move-out, remote learning, retrieving personal belongings, or anything else, please visit Boston University’s special COVID-19 website. Questions are being answered there by specific departments in a timely fashion. Thank you.
—Doug Most, executive editor, BU Today
Quote of the day:
This system would enable members to vote remotely in a secure way, without using the kind of technology that is susceptible to hacking or interference by foreign bad actors.
Stat of the day:
Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders steps up to help nurses across Massachusetts
For frontline doctors and nurses, the COVID-19 pandemic is brutally difficult: a deadly disease with a high mortality rate. Countless intubations and patients dying alone in quarantine. Personal protective equipment in short supply. Fear of getting sick, or of bringing the disease home to loved ones.
Last Sunday, Yupei “Pearl” Hu, a psychiatrist at BU’s Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders (CARD) and a College of Arts & Sciences clinical assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences, called Bonnie Brown, a CARD nurse administrator and health communications specialist, with an idea. Hu is involved with the national Physician Support Line, and realized that frontline nurses battling COVID-19 are under at least as much stress as the doctors they work with. Maybe there was something CARD could do? As a nurse who has read numerous COVID-19–related accounts of stress from nurses online, Brown agreed and took the idea to Lisa Smith, CARD director and a CAS clinical professor of psychological and brain sciences. Just days later, after a consult with the Massachusetts Nurses Association, CARD’s support line for nurses in Massachusetts is ready for its first callers.
“We are so grateful for these dedicated healthcare professionals and feel that offering them this support is the least we can do to assist them during this COVID crisis,” Brown says.
Many CARD staffers—psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and others—have stepped up and volunteered to be available for appointments, so the nurses will find someone to talk to from 8 am to 10 pm, seven days a week. The conversations can be held via a HIPAA-compliant Zoom video-meeting or by phone. There is an online signup page, and CARD asks for four hours notice, but they will do everything they can to answer short-term requests.
Brown is quick to emphasize this is not treatment per se, but rather a chance for nurses to unpack their stress and emotions like anger, grief, and fear, and get informed support. It is also not a crisis hotline. Nurses experiencing a psychological or health emergency should contact 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. For nurses interested in treatment services, CARD is offering remote telehealth therapy. Call 617-353-9610, email email@example.com, or find more information here.
Earth Day online
For half a century, Earth Day, April 22, has been a sign of renewed commitment to the environment, and also a harbinger of spring. This year it will be a little tricky, as we’ll all be breathing in that fresh air in solitude and through a mask. But despite our present challenges, BU Sustainability has scheduled online events to mark the occasion on Tuesday, April 21.
There will be two panel discussions: first up, at 4 pm, it’s Learning from COVID-19: What Does It Mean for Sustainability, Climate Change, and Resilience? with Sucharita Gopal, a CAS professor of earth and environment, Dennis Carlberg, BU associate vice president for University sustainability, and Jonathan I. Levy, a School of Public Health professor of environmental health. The conversation will begin with an overview of BU’s progress toward its sustainability goals, then dive into what the “new normal” means for climate and sustainability work—both at BU and broadly as a society.
Then at 5:40 pm, it’s Caring for Yourself, Others, and Our Planet: A Student Panel for Earth Day’s 50th, hosted by BU Sustainability and the University’s Wellbeing Project. Students will share stories about their relationship to nature, their communities, and our environment, and how this interacts with their personal well-being, followed by a discussion.
Sign up for these events and learn about others here.
New Venture Competition finale on Zoom tonight
COVID-19 hasn’t stopped Innovate@BU’s efforts to encourage innovation in the University community—it’s just moved it online. Innovate@BU’s New Venture Competition finale will be on Zoom tonight, Friday, April 17, at 6:30 pm. A dozen student and alumni finalists will deliver 60-second pitches for the audience in hopes of winning a share of six prizes totaling $64,000 across two categories: tech/for-profit and social impact. Register here to watch live.
Boston and Beyond News
Commonwealth tackling crisis in nursing homes, other care facilities
Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday that Massachusetts is ramping up support for elder-care and nursing facilities hard-hit by COVID-19, including $130 million in new funding. In early April, the administration announced a 10 percent MassHealth rate increase (approximately $50 million) across the board for all nursing facilities. Facilities that create dedicated COVID-19 wings and units and follow necessary safety protocols will be eligible for an additional rate increase to support additional staffing, infection control, and supply costs throughout the state of emergency. An estimated $30 million will support facilities that establish dedicated skilled nursing facilities.
The commonwealth has also mobilized rapid-response clinical teams to provide short-term support for facilities with a high volume of cases or with critical staffing needs. These teams are made up of EMS technicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. To meet staffing needs, the state has created a Long-Term Care Portal to match individuals who have registered through the portal with the staffing requests submitted by facilities and has announced a $1,000 signing bonus for all those who register through the LTC Portal to work for a certain amount of time in a nursing home.
US & Global News
Economic devastation for many
A series of news stories Thursday made clear just how deep and widespread the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic will be. Some 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last month, wiping out years of job growth. The $349 billion federal loan program to help small businesses keep their workers on the payroll has already run out of funds. And researchers say poverty could reach its highest level in half a century, disproportionately affecting African Americans and children.
Latest count of coronavirus cases
United States, 629,264; Massachusetts, 32,181.
Find BU Today’s latest coverage of the pandemic here. The University’s hotline for faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars to call for referral of their virus-related medical concerns is 617-358-4990.