“The Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on how we provide our care, and everyone who works on our IPU has had to adjust quickly to different working practices.”

Senior Staff Nurse Keri works on our In-Patient Unit (IPU), caring for patients with unstable symptoms and those in their last days of life, and providing emotional support for their families too.

You can read more from Phyllis Tuckwell in the Autumn edition of Connections Magazine Online

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on how we provide our care, and everyone who works on our IPU has had to adjust quickly to different working practices. At the peak of the pandemic, we introduced many changes to ensure that we were providing the maximum safety and support for our patients. These affected everything, from feeding and washing our patients, to patients not being able to use fans or have photos or flowers in their rooms. One of the biggest and saddest changes was the change in visiting rules. Before Covid, our patients could have visitors at any time of day or night, for as long as they wanted, but during Covid visiting was reduced to just one hour. Patients were able to have two visitors, but only one could go into the patient’s room at a time. It was hard for the patients and their visitors, and also for us, as we believe it’s really important for patients to have contact with their loved ones. At our busiest time we had six patients on the IPU who were either Covid positive or suspected to be. We divided the ward up so that there were specific nurses assigned to these patients for a whole shift. We always wear gloves and aprons when undertaking any patient’s personal care, but at times, with Covid patients, we also had to wear surgical masks and visors or goggles. It felt strange at first, but we quickly got used to it.

Despite all of these changes, we have continued to provide compassionate care and support, and have found as many ways as possible to give each patient individualised care. We’ve also worked hard to keep strong connections between our patients and their families, making daily telephone calls to relatives to give them updates on how their loved one is, assisting patients to phone their families themselves, reading out messages or poems which have been sent to patients from their families and friends, and introducing ipads which patients have been able to use to make video calls, so that they can see as well as speak to their loved ones.

 

What was most important to us was to give the best care we could, and support patients and families who were anxious, at such a vulnerable time in their lives. Now that the restrictions have eased a little, things are starting to feel a bit more normal again. Visiting restrictions have eased, which we’re all happier with, and the atmosphere is buoyant and positive.

 

We’re all in good spirits. I love working for Phyllis Tuckwell! The team is wonderful, and the managers are really supportive and encouraging. I’m proud to care for our patients and relatives, and be part of an organisation which has such a positive reputation.