The COVID-19, CORONAVIRUS, pandemic has changed the lives of almost everyone around the world. Many individuals have lost their jobs and some are losing family members. Children are out of school. Graduations and ceremonies are cancelled. Funerals are held via live stream. And mothers are forced to give birth without family at the bedside.
In a previous blog post, I talked about the Coronavirus and the importance of preventing the spread of the virus. Since then, there has been a wide increase in cases in the U.S.
During this time, healthcare workers, including myself, are scared, anxious, and worried about what the next weeks and months may bring. Some are not able to see their families or be around their children. Some are deploying to go to NYC and other high rate cities to help save the lives of the COVID patients. Others are forced to stay home and not work because of being immunosuppressed and at higher risk of catching the virus.
COVID-19, WE ARE NOT OK!
Many citizens are not aware of what is happening behind the walls of the hospitals. These patients are intubated, sedated, and on CRRT and ECMO machines to save their lives while their heart, lungs, and kidneys are all failing at one time. On the other hand you have cases that are mild where the patients are self proning (lying on their stomachs) to improve their lung functions while on lower oxygen supply like nasal cannulas and non-rebreathers.
What is happening behind the hospitals' walls?:
Facilities are requiring nurses to cross train as ICU nurses based on the suspected increase in COVID-19 patient population.
There are no elective surgeries being performed unless they are emergent. This is leaving OR, Pre-Op and PACU staff to be without jobs or floated to other areas of the hospital.
There is a decrease of patients with other disorders being admitted to hospitals so some units have low census. With this, staff are forced to use their personal PTO (paid time off) after being cancelled for multiple shifts each week.
PPE (personal protective equipment) like gloves, masks, and gowns are scarce and are being reused for days and even weeks. Some facilities are providing brown paper bags for staff to place their masks in to preserve them for another shift. They are being told that they have to keep theses masks until they are soiled.