As the world continues to face the current COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of information about the virus is shared on the news or social media platforms – and not all of it is accurate. For example, a judge recently issued a temporary restraining order against a website scamming consumers by selling a COVID-19 vaccine kit that does not exist.
While the United States fights the spread of the virus, the government and hospitals are also in a fight to stop the spread of misinformation about COVID-19. Healthcare facilities in particular can counter misinformation by educating their patients and communities about COVID-19 and spreading awareness about the virus’ symptoms and ways patients can stay safe.
To do this successfully, it may not always be enough to simply have credible information, but it is also important to grab people’s attention via more visually appealing pieces, such as posters and infographics. This can help both adults and children understand and retain information about the virus.
Various healthcare organizations have already developed effective communication tools and strategies that can be used to widely spread credible information, which can save hospitals the time and effort by not having to create these resources on their own. Check out some of the tools and strategies below and find out what makes them unique and useful.
1. Social Media Posts
The Texas Department of State Health Services created materials that cover important aspects of COVID-19, including prevention, symptoms, and hand hygiene. Information is summarized and fits onto a single page so that patients are not deterred by too much text. Many of the documents are available in different languages, including English, Spanish, and Chinese.
The organization also created PNG versions of the documents so that they can be easily posted and shared on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Given that some U.S. citizens now get their news and other information on social media, this can be an effective way to reach a greater number of people.
2. Myth/Fact Sheet
The CDC created a plethora of posters and other communication tools about COVID-19. One document that might be especially important is its fact sheet about the virus, since misinformation about COVID-19 is a problem in the country. This piece lists the most important facts that healthcare providers currently know about the virus, and breaks down what those facts mean for the public at large.
For example, the second fact states, “For most people, the immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low.” The document then highlights who is at greatest risk of serious complications from the virus—older adults and people with other health conditions.
This fact and additional description might have been chosen to help reduce panic, while at the same time encourage members of at-risk populations to be extra careful in following prevention recommendations. It also encourages others to practice social distancing for the sake of these individuals.
3. Practical Advice
TRICARE created a poster to capture some of the important points patients should remember when it comes to the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. This poster reiterates many of the same prevention methods seen in other available resources, such as encouraging people to stay at home and routinely clean high-touch surfaces in their homes.
What is especially helpful about this piece is that it lists the specific high-touch items that must be cleaned regularly:
- Light switches
- Door handles
Making information as applicable as possible to the daily lives of the public can help them correctly apply best practice prevention methods, including cleaning their homes.
Similarly, Ingham County Health Department created a COVID-19 document that lists important medical information that people should know, such as the symptoms of the virus and when to seek medical care. It also gives practical advice for things like activity planning at home during quarantine. For example, it advises the public to make sure they have enough diapers and other necessary supplies at home.
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