CDC Releases Tips For Managing Workplace Fatigue During COVID-19

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Health care workers are working longer hours and more shifts with stressful and physically demanding work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has left health care teams with less time to sleep and care for their own well-being, increasing the risk for extreme fatigue. Workplace fatigue can increase the risk for injury, infections, illnesses and mental health disorders.

In order to help health care workers and employers manage workplace fatigue during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an updated document with general strategies on what workers can do when they feel too fatigued to work safely and steps employers can take to reduce workplace fatigue for workers.

Recommendations include tips for improving sleep and recognizing that health care workers may need more time to recover than they do under normal circumstances. Adults typically need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but this may not be enough time for health care workers to recover given the stressful and unusual circumstances of COVID-19. One method for combatting fatigue is "banking your sleep." Health care workers can try to sleep several extra hours longer than they normally would before beginning a long stretch of shifts.

The CDC also recommends that teams establish a buddy system to check in with each other while at work. A buddy system can help ensure that everyone is coping with work hours and demands, while offering the opportunity for coworkers to look out for signs of fatigue in one another. Signs of fatigue include, yawning, difficulty keeping your eyes open and difficulty concentrating.

For more information on managing fatigue, as well as other COVID-19 well-being resources, visit ACC's Clinician Well-Being Portal.

Clinical Topics: Sleep Apnea

Keywords: Workplace, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Coronavirus Infections, Yawning, Mental Health, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, Pandemics, Fatigue, Sleep, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Adaptation, Psychological, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.), Health Personnel, Patient Care Team


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