Submitted by Anonymous
Our hospital was the first hospital in the UK to have a patient with Covid-19 in early February 2020. At that point I got caught up in the excitement that I may walk past a camera and be on the BBC news in the background!
However, when the weeks went on and we were taken out of our usual teams, the seriousness of the virus began to dawn on me. I was with a good friend and colleague who I knew would support me and I her. We were able to lift each other’s spirits on a daily basis and together come up with innovative and creative ideas to help lift patients’ spirits.
Some of my colleagues had to shield, resulting in three months self-isolating at home. Some of my colleagues had vulnerable relatives at home and had to isolate at home for this period of time to protect them.
One day, I started to get a throbbing headache and went home to rest. I woke up later on in the evening sweating with my bones starting to ache; I knew something was wrong. I spent the next three days in bed, having a swab up my nose (tickling my brain) I was relieved to hear it was negative. I returned to work after my cough had subsided to continue working on the wards.
Coming in on the Monday after being told we were splitting into teams, I volunteered to work on the Covid-19 ward; this was because I knew I was fit and healthy and had no other vulnerable people living in my household.
The morale on the Covid-19 ward always seemed optimistic and positive with strong and talented nurses leading the way.
Having the mix of both Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists within the team supported collaborative working and my colleague and I sought the opportunity to educate others in the value of the OT.
We demonstrated the creativeness of the OT and the support we could offer those patients that had weeks in intensive care and needed graded and strategic rehab to help them manage with life after Covid-19. Thus, allowing me to reflect on Occupational Therapy as a profession and I realised that we don’t promote our role enough.
That evening I used social media platforms to promote the role of the OT in working with patients who were diagnosed or suspected Covid-19. This got hundreds of likes and was shared a number of times. This helped my own feelings about our role and I felt I helped, in a small way promote, our profession.
One of the harder days on the ward was when I was conducting a washing and dressing assessment with a 90 year old gentleman who had fallen and broken his hip, resulting in surgery having his hip pinned. He had started to make good progress, but unfortunately had been diagnosed with Covid and moved to the ward I was on. Sadly this gentleman later passed away, his family not being able to visit in his last hours of life; this is definitely the hardest part of this dreadful virus.
Many of the patients I have worked with have sadly passed away from the virus and the doctors, therapists, the palliative care nurses and the nurses on the ward have done everything they can to be with those passing away, including video calls and limited visits from family members, this makes me proud to work in the NHS.
One highlight for me was my ‘pimping the trolleys’ initiative, whereby I had a gentleman in his 70s that was falling due to high fatigue of Covid-19 and instead of a trolley, we instead provided him with a ‘BMW’, or another patient with a ‘Gin trolley’! We also used goal sheets and came up with new and different goals for patients to help them realise that they can conquer the virus themselves.
I felt empowered as a therapist and whilst sadly there where people that passed away, I also think about all the many people that fought the virus and where rehabbed back homes with their families.