Submitted by Deborah
Clinical Specialist Respiratory Physiotherapist at St Richard’s hospital
As respiratory physiotherapists, we work to treat all patients in critical care, helping with resolving pneumonia symptoms, positioning to help their lungs inflate, and weaning them off the ventilator support when ready. We also provide rehabilitation to patients to try to build strength and improve function when the time is right.
During the pandemic, we also supported colleagues in Covid-19 critical care, which was a true privilege. We were very grateful to all who came to help us with our roles, including paediatrics, orthopaedics, outpatients, women’s health and neuro teams as they were all out of comfort zones but willing to do anything under guidance to help. I know a number of staff have had moments when it all felt too daunting, but we helped each other through those. We have all developed courage that we probably didn’t realise we had.
Having seen patients who survived the first wave and heard their stories, we were determined to remember their feedback and try to make things as bearable as possible. We knew just how hard it was for patients when they opened their eyes to see us dressed like that at a time when they needed a friendly and familiar face. Our lovely occupational therapists helped us with this by contacting patient’s relatives to find out all about them as a person, their likes, their dislikes, the music taste, names of people important to them. We printed photos for patients and made sure we talked about their loved ones whenever able to try to ensure they heard names of people they loved.