Dorset County Hospital staff on frontline battling coronavirus

The coronavirus crisis remains one of the greatest challenges most of us will ever face.

It has been more than two months since the country was first banned, and although the rules were relaxed in England just under two weeks ago, it has not been completely lifted and life has not returned to normal. It won't take some time.

More and more people are doing their business and the streets and paths are busier.

But the virus is still there. On weekends on public holidays, health chiefs asked the public to think twice before traveling unnecessarily to protect the NHS and save lives.

145 patients died in the county hospitals in Dorset; 23 at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester.

Covid-19 is still a challenge, and we're meeting all DCH employees – doctors, nurses, cleaners, porters and volunteers – who are at the forefront of the biggest health crisis of late.

At the start of the pandemic, the hospital's emergency department had to divide an already small department into two separate departments so that staff could treat suspicious positive patients separately – an enormous effort, says Matron Clare Turnbull.

"The list of people involved was huge and we can't thank everyone enough for helping us make these big changes in such a short time," she said. "The team has embraced every change and challenge we have." have surrendered and pulled themselves together to support each other and they continue to do so every day.

“I am very proud of all of them and cannot thank them enough for accepting this challenge. We had to work in so different ways, but the team was professional and simply inspiring. "

In the intensive care unit, doctors and nurses have become friends and family members of patients who are not allowed to have visitors.

Rachel Cookson, an advanced nurse at ITU, says there have been many challenges.

"In preparation for the Coronavirus, we initially increased our capacity for intensive care beds, expanded to other areas of the hospital and increased our workforce to ensure that we can continue to serve our community without compromising standards.

Dorset Echo:

  • The intensive care unit is asking for donations for the DCH Covid appeal

“There were many challenges during this time as research, guidance and guidelines changed every minute. The hard work, professionalism, dedication, and resilience of our team persist despite the ongoing challenges that this pandemic brings. "

As visiting hours were suspended, the trust's digital team set up a dedicated email address for families, caregivers, and friends of patients to keep in touch while they were admitted. Inpatients were also able to connect with relatives via a free video app, trusting that patients who did not have their own device would receive iPads.

It is well documented that cleanliness and infection control management are essential to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Dorset Echo:

Emma Hoyle, deputy director of infection prevention and control at DCH, said it was an "incredibly busy time" for the department.

"We started planning the pandemic in January 2020, along with all the departments and departments of the Trust," she said. “The development of the virus at the national level meant that guidelines and guidelines had to be updated daily and sometimes hourly. Throughout the pandemic, employees were trained and supported by the IPC team.

“As the pandemic and time progresses, we are now planning how the services will look in the coming months to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

"I am very proud of my team, who did everything to support the trust."

At the Moreton Respiratory Station, Sister Lynn Paterson says that the staff did an “absolutely incredible job” for Covid-positive patients who need special airway care.

Dorset Echo:

"It was a challenging time in healthcare," she said. “We all had to constantly learn and adapt.

“Correct use of PPE has been critical to protecting our patients and employees.

"We introduced changes in the station, e.g. B. Yellow warning signs in some areas that warn personnel that a maximum of one person can enter this zone at a time to reduce the risk.

“We have also promoted social distancing measures wherever possible to help reduce risk. We are a strong and committed team and we will do it together. "

Handle PPE well

The virus presented DCH's procurement and logistics team with a major challenge. Although PSA bottlenecks have been reported across the country, the hospital has done well.

Department head Louise Brereton said the teams were "used to working quietly in the background" to ensure that hospital staff had supplies available to treat patients when needed. However, the coronavirus pandemic has meant a "radical change" in the way teams work and how their work is viewed by others.

"Both teams had to react quickly to a rapidly changing environment and face new hurdles and challenges every day," she said. “The first PSA inventory was quickly secured and daily inventory checks continue to ensure that we are not short of it.

Dorset Echo:

  • The DCH procurement team takes care of PSA

“Since the end of March, the logistics team has redirected efforts to focus on key departments and wards that increasingly treat Covid-positive patients. The team is now available around the clock to ensure that deliveries can be accepted at any time and PPE can be distributed as needed.

"Through this pandemic, we have learned that nothing is impossible, we can face a challenge and our efforts are worthwhile."

Study to investigate possible drug treatments for the virus

The DCH research and innovation department has responded to the challenge of the coronavirus.

In March, the department recruited the first two patients in Wessex to investigate possible drug treatments for the virus.

The research study known as Recovery aims to compare different treatments that may be useful for patients with Covid-19. It was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and classified as an urgent public health research study, with support from all NHS trusts in England.

Sarah Williams, senior research nurse at DCH, was part of the team that helped recruit the first two participants.

She said: “This shows what you can achieve when people are engaged and recognize the value of research. The research team has now recruited the highest proportion of potential participants in England for the Covid 19 recovery study. It is hoped that this work will contribute to the national and international knowledge base to fight the virus. "

Dr. Zoë Sheppard, head of research, added: “I am delighted that research is at the top of the international agenda and I am extremely proud of how the department has come together to advance this basic research here in Dorset – thank you everyone Involved. "

Dedicated team of volunteers

The DCH volunteer service has undergone some major changes to assist the hospital during the coronavirus outbreak.

DCH has approximately 250 volunteers, but many have had to isolate themselves under government guidance, and most roles have been suspended to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread.

The hospital therefore has a small but very dedicated team of volunteers who support the staff in this challenging time.

The team is responsible for packing and distributing the face masks in the hospital twice a day to ensure that employees have enough masks for their shift. They were also responsible for coordinating and distributing the generous donations the trust receives from businesses and the community. The team also supports the pharmacy department with its home delivery service.

DCH volunteer coordinator Hannah Robinson said: “Our volunteer team was just amazing.

“They give up their time to support the entire organization and have remained flexible, patient and very committed to just staying in the role and doing what is needed. They are a true example of community spirit.

“Behind the scenes, we also have a volunteer who writes thank-you letters to those who have donated to the trust and others who submit activities such as quizzes and word searches for patients to stimulate them during the visit.

Dorset Echo:

  • Volunteers who receive donations on Easter Sunday

"We have received a lot of support from the community who would like to volunteer at DCH. This is fantastic and we look forward to welcoming you in the future."

Since the pandemic began, the public has gone to the front door, the balcony and the garden every Thursday to applaud all our employees for our care.

Its founder suggested that this week be the last – so why not cheer particularly loudly?

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