Compassionate care in our emergency care unit

Here when you need us

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic emergency departments and acute care units have remained there for all patients, whatever their urgent medical needs. For many people the thought of being in hospital during the pandemic has added an additional layer of worry, but for Brighton resident Jo Sweeting, a visit to the emergency care unit at The County hospital in Brighton, gave her insight to the extraordinary and compassionate care that goes on behind the scenes, day in, day out, despite the ongoing pandemic.

Jo explains: “I am a walker, wild swimmer and a sculptor and pride myself on being strong and fit. At 54 years old, I have been lucky enough to have little need for hospitals and the NHS. Yet during a day in July after a day swimming and a walk I came home feeling unusually exhausted. This feeling persisted and gradually I began to feel weaker and had a temperature of 40 degrees that knocked me flat and so I called 111 who sent an ambulance.

“The paramedics who came were first in the long line of compassionate and skilled medical staff I encountered. They made me feel calm and reassured and so I left my home and went into hospital during a pandemic with all its additional fears and complications, which was not a step I took lightly.

Jo was assessed and moved to the emergency unit for treatment where she spent the night and the next day. “I was weighed, monitored, had bloods taken, was x-rayed, given IV antibiotics and painkillers and I was treated with care and respect throughout. All patients had swabs and an x-ray on admission and so I was tested for Covid-19 but tested negative.”

Despite it being a worrying time Jo was able to witness the care that went on around her: “I am in awe of the team environment I found myself in during that time. The porters, cleaners, administration staff, nurses, consultants, doctors, pharmacists, healthcare assistants, bookings staff and paramedics – I met people from all over the world who showed me care and respect. I watched a cleaner go round and round several wards running his gloved hands along the curtain rails, sweeping under beds and checking for anything that had been left behind. Then a couple of hours later he would return and re-do all his tasks. Without the attention to detail from cleaners and porters we would not have safe, clean spaces, or beds available.

“Nurses went to see their patients in masks, gowns and gloves and then removed them, wiped down, re-gowned and returned over and over. We all slept in a mask but no one made a fuss as we knew we were being looked after by people who were hot and tired and still made no complaints”.

Jo continued her recovery at home and knew she wanted to share her reflections on the experience, she says: “I have never before called an ambulance or felt so ill and terrified but I would now no longer be fearful to be admitted to hospital. I am now on the mend and I will never forget the love I was shown and I how well I was treated. I would like to thank every person who helped me recover.”