Iam is a Personal Support Worker Instructor at our Downtown campus, but lately, she has also been working at Michael’s Garron Hospital with COVID-19 patients. Her usual role is to draw blood from all patients, however lately Iam has mostly been focussing on patients who have contracted the virus.
When COVID-19 started, Iam asked her husband if he would be comfortable with her working at the hospital. She told him “I know I will be able to make a difference, rather than staying at home.” At first, he was worried, but he came around to the idea and asked her to be careful. Iam started in June, “They screen you completely before you can start working there. It took a month to complete all the requirements and start,” she added.
Many may wonder about the safety of the hospital workers and the different precaution measures that are being taken during COVID-19. Iam explained that, at the start of her shift, she has to be screened which includes taking her temperature and answering several questions regarding her health in terms of whether she is experiencing any symptoms and if she is doing patient testing that day. After the screening, Iam goes to the hospital laboratory where they will draw blood. She also added, “At times we are assigned to different floors when there is a shortage of nurses.” When working directly with COVID-19 patients, she has to wear full personal protective gear including a face shield, face mask, gown and gloves. Her main tasks are to give medication and draw blood, but also to help the doctors with various tasks.
“Not everyone’s immune system is reacting the same way to the virus,” Iam explained. “There are different types of patients. Some are in the Intensive Care Unit as they have difficulty breathing. Patients with mild symptoms will be monitored and they will be moved to the ICU if their symptoms get worse,” Iam noted.
COVID-19 patients handle the situation differently. Iam said, “Some like to joke around, some take it very seriously and others are frustrated because they can’t see their families.” The units are locked down, so many patients haven’t seen their families for weeks.
Dealing with patients who have COVID-19 is not always easy and that it’s important to be understanding. Iam also mentioned, “You have to stay strong for the family so they know that the person looking after their family member is strong and doing their best”.
As the number of cases is now going down, many hospitals have seen a decline in new patients affected by COVID-19. Iam has also been able to see this change and said, “In our hospital there was one week where we had 0 new admissions for COVID-19. We were so happy and relieved that it’s starting to slow down.” The more testing that is done, the more the curve is flattened. If you are looking for a way to help during this challenging time, there are many ways you can do so. You can volunteer, donate blood or donate face masks. “Donating is a big help, as everybody is using face masks at this time,” said Iam. For those who want to volunteer but don’t have a medical background, you can still help by doing cleaning or even screening. Contact your local hospitals or volunteering services if you would like to lend a hand.