The omicron Covid-19 surge is placing extraordinary strain on health care organizations, even compared to other surges we've seen over the past two years. The daily average of new Covid-19 cases entering 2022 surpassed 400,000 for the first time in the pandemic, driven by a combination of the omicron and delta variants. Hospitalizations are rising too, hitting hospitals already strained by staff shortages.
Now, more than ever, organizations are facing immense staffing shortage challenges, overwhelmed intensive care units, and moral fatigue—all while navigating unclear messaging. With access to contract labor increasingly limited, clinical leadership teams are evaluating all options to sustain operations while responding to continued Covid-19 pressures.
Listed below are Advisory Board resources that we have inventoried or developed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to assist with maximizing operational capacity. Many of these resources have been available through our platform for some time now. However, in the presence of the omicron surge, we dove deep into the resources to ensure they are still applicable and helpful.
For ease of use, we have pulled everything together into one list for you and your teams to review. Beyond many examples of interdisciplinary staffing models, emotional support, HR policies, and cross-site floating strategies, we have also included several resources regarding how to offload acute care volumes through partnerships with post-acute and expanded telehealth.
We will continue to highlight more strategies as we learn more. In the meantime, please feel free to email us at Ask@advisory.com with questions or suggestions.
Adopt staffing models to increase acute care capacity
Several hospitals have adopted new care models that scale key expertise to increase Covid-19 acute capacity.
- Blog: Key actions CNOs should take now to staff for a Covid-19 surge
- Insights: 6 hard truths about the nursing shortage the entire C-Suite needs to know
- Profile: How Montefiore mobilized their nursing workforce to combat the first US Covid-19 surge
- Profile: How Baylor Scott & White Health restructured its care team model to prepare for the Covid-19 surge
- Q&A: How Ascension mobilized nearly 10,000 nurses for Covid-19—in less than 2 weeks
- Profile: How Montefiore stood up an ICU command center for Covid-19—in just 2 weeks
- Profile: The 4 keys to Gundersen's plan to redeploy clinicians for Covid-19
Leverage post-acute operations to increase acute care capacity
Rethink your post-acute care strategy to safely and effectively discharge inpatients and create acute care capacity.
- Insights: Hospital discharge strategy during Covid-19
- Resource: The SNF Infection Control Guide
- Guide: 4 barriers to advance care planning during Covid-19—and how nursing homes can overcome them
- Guide: 4 ways you can support Covid-19 patients—after they're discharged
Support staff well-being
Frontline staff are being pushed to the physical and emotional brink, including: working longer hours under more strenuous conditions, cross training and caring for patients in new ways, and dealing with an increasing concern for safety. Organizations must double down on support for staff, particularly during this omicron surge.
- Insights: Bolster employee engagement amid Covid-19
- Round up: Picklist of emotional support options
- Resource: How to provide emotional supports for your workforce
- Resource: Three strategies to build baseline emotional support
- Profile: 'Moral Resilience Rounds': Johns Hopkins' secret to help staff navigate moral distress
- Profile: How UCSF created an app to monitor staff for Covid-19—and support their mental health
- Profile: Novant Health-NHRMC’s Resiliency Governance Council
- Blog: 3 ways health care executives can build a more inclusive culture
- Blog: 5 conversations to help your team navigate a crisis
Leverage telehealth to avoid unnecessary care utilization
Throughout the epidemic, telehealth has enabled providers to create capacity and ensure continuity of care for non-emergent patients, while providing a high-quality patient experience.
- Blog: 3 ways to ramp up telehealth to deal with Covid-19
- Cheat sheet: 3 imperatives to leverage telehealth against Covid-19
- Guide: How to Talk to Physicians about Telehealth
- Infographic: Tips to improve your 'webside manner'
- Q&A: What it's like to deliver care—and empathy—to Covid-19 patients via telehealth
- Insights: Partnership, persistence, and patience: Key lessons from our panel on digital equity
- Insights: Advancing Digital Equity Through Literacy and Design
The recent month has felt like déjà vu. Many people around the country and world are sharing some collective anxiety. So if you feel overwhelmed by the current Covid-19 surge, think about how large our toolbox has grown over the past two years. We've come a long way—together.
We hope the resources included in this document can provide some help to you and your organization. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions at Ask@advisory.com. As always, we are here to help.