Loneliness can occur when someone feels socially isolated, excluded, or misunderstood. Unfortunately, loneliness is a huge public health challenge that many people experience daily, including NHS staff, healthcare workers, and their patients.
Long-term loneliness can hugely impact physical and mental health, with some studies suggesting it can increase the likelihood of early death by as much as 26%.
Therefore, healthcare workers and nurses across all settings must recognise the telltale signs of loneliness in their patients and co-workers and be skilled with the knowledge and resources to offer the best support and treatment possible.
Bearing this in mind, the patient safety and compliance experts at Radar Healthcare have compiled a list of some of the different yet vital ways those working in the healthcare sector can look to combat loneliness within themselves and their peers.
Larger break rooms for enhanced communication
Offering healthcare workers a larger space for enhanced communication will allow those working unsociable and long hours together the space to communicate and unwind while having breaks from work.
It is also beneficial if break rooms have access to windows that can be opened to let fresh air and sunlight in during long and overnight shifts.
Supportive and comfortable spaces
As well as providing larger break rooms, it is also important for healthcare workers to have additional spaces that contain access to comfortable furniture, relaxing lighting, or views of the outside world.
These comfortable environments will provide more of a relaxing zone for healthcare workers to unwind and where healthcare professionals can provide emotional support to one another.
Studies have indicated that biophilic design (the presence of indoor plants) can improve concentration and productivity (up to 15%), reduce stress levels, and boost mood. This is why healthcare professionals should implement lots of greenery into their social spaces at work to enhance their mood and reduce stress while taking a break from their busy and often long working hours.
Outside eating areas
It is important that healthcare professionals make the most of their breaks away from work to recharge and relax before continuing in a stressful environment. Healthcare workers can combat loneliness and improve their social interactions whilst in a working environment is to spend more time socialising outdoors.
Eating a meal or having a picnic with co-workers is a beneficial way to take in the much-needed fresh air and remove themselves from the normal work setting.
How technology can help?
Radar Healthcare’s quality and compliance software support healthcare organisations in promoting a balanced and positive work approach.
Manage compliments, not just complaints
Boosting staff morale is essential for building a solid and happy workforce. Radar Healthcare’s software allows healthcare organisations to log or track events, including compliments and positive feedback, to see an individual’s measurable impact on their team.
Workforce compliance: Invest in your employees
Fewer than half (44%) of NHS staff in England report that their employer takes positive action on health and wellbeing. Maintaining and tracking records of workers’ training, appraisals and compliance requirements actively show that an organisation values and supports its workers.
In addition, storing this information in a single system ensures that your workforce is well informed, reduces errors and duplication, and encourages better communication.