We were lucky to have a plan to cover the units during the second surge based on our experience the year before. This was rapidly adopted and all the inpatient (IP) teams stepped up to ensure that all the patients across the hospital received the care they needed.
Again, we were lucky to have some redeployed staff from outpatients join the IP team and work in areas they had not done for some time. These staff enabled other teams to take on our wards and allow us to purely cover the rapidly expanded Critical care which went from 31 beds to approx 70. We were covering L7 green, L7a red, L5 red and recovery green, with 6 team members. Our colleagues in major trauma kindly cared for patients in the newly expanded red HDU in the children’s hospital.
We all managed new ways of working calmly with great support and cooperation across the entire IP service. The team also had junior rotations in the middle of the surge and the new juniors settled in quickly, despite their anxiety about working in full PPE on red wards, in a new rotation, in a scary place!
Working on critical care means my staff have skills and knowledge with ventilators, cardiovascular interventions and monitoring, respiratory illnesses and management of positioning and mobilisation. COVID patients often had significant oxygenation and cardiovascular issues which made our role in rehabilitation vital with our knowledge of exercise physiology in critically unwell patients.
We worked very closely with the nursing staff, doing personal care, assisting with proning and mobilisation. We often did work that was not ‘usual’ for physios to do including taking blood gases, MRSA swabs, documenting in and outputs and monitoring critically unwell patients whilst nurses took their well-deserved breaks.
The team really pulled together and supported each other not just professionally but personally. Lockdown was hard on everyone.
For me – this team is MY team of the month – in fact of the surge! They were amazing and I firmly believe that we were a vital part of the critical care team.
Katy, Team lead physiotherapist