Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals have been working on the front lines of this pandemic for the past 18 months and in that time, abuse towards staff has been on the steep incline.  

In a statement released on October 7, 2021, by the leaders of the Lake of the Woods District Hospital, the frequency of both verbal and physical abuse towards staff has increased.   

The LWDH Board pointed out that at the beginning of the pandemic, there was an outpour of support for frontline workers via signs and generous donations, but over the course of 18 months, something changed and the attitudes of some have turned hostile.  

The abuse has quickly surpassed what could be deemed general workplace conflicts, it has escalated to unacceptable abuse towards staff.  

The LWDH Board said “We have seen an increase in harassment and verbal abuse by patients and visitors against our front-line workers. The brunt of abuse our staff has received includes harmful messages, harassment, bullying, name-calling, ethnic insults, and verbal and physical abuse.” 

“It has reached the point where it has resulted in emotional distress and physical injury, and in some situations, decisions to leave our organization,” the statement continued.  

LWDH is not the only hospital or healthcare facility experiencing this kind of harassment and burnout, it's happening nationwide as the pandemic continues to rage on.  

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario published a report in March of 2021 that found between people planning to retire and those who said they're "very likely to leave" the profession following the pandemic, studies found that the nursing workforce could see a 15.6 percent loss within the next year.  

The LWDH Board concluded their statement with “We understand that people are growing tired of the pandemic, but we need everyone to show a little more kindness and respect to the staff, nurses, and professional staff who continue to selflessly work around the clock to provide care to those who need it most.” 

Link to the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario report - https://rnao.ca/sites/rnao-ca/files/Nurses_Wellbeing_Survey_Results_-_March_31.pdf