Care After Covid: Community crisis teams see demand double in fight to keep patients out of hospital

We all know the work that doctors and nurses do to help treat patients hospitalised with coronavirus - but what we rarely see is the incredible work carried out day after day in the community.

In North Manchester, we were invited to take a look at the work of a community crisis team.

They're the people trying to keep people out of hospital - whenever they can be safely treated at home.They're called in by ambulance crews, GPs and social services - and are made up of nurses, therapists, physios, social workers and support workers - all brought together through the Manchester Local Care Organisation.

Like most frontline workers, they've continued through the pandemic, and their workload has drastically increased. In fact, they've seen double the number of patients - up to 300 a month. 

And with so many patients needing acute or post-Covid care, they have to factor in time for added safety measures to keep their patients, and themselves, safe.

Payal Wilson and Hilda Brook have to sanitise all their equipment between patients.

Payal Wilson, an Advanced Clinical Practitioner, told us: 'It's been a tough year, coming up to a year since we went into the first national lockdown, it's been really, really tough, but we've got each other, and our main priority has always been patients, right from the beginning. So even though we're worried about our families, worried about taking something home, worried about catching it ourselves, the support we've had as a team has been what's got us through it'.

Jason Holland, Clinical Lead, Manchester Community Response Services, said Long Covid has become a recurrent theme in their workload:

'As the pandemic has progressed, we've started to see the same patients starting to come back through, now with post covid symptoms, long covid, especially in the younger population.'But the challenge isn't just dealing with post viral symptoms, but mid-pandemic fears. They're repeatedly called out to try to help very unwell people refusing to go to hospital, and needing all the skills this multidisciplinary team can offer. 

The added demands of Long Covid is likely to prove a long term challenge. But this team, like so many more across the North West, say they're always ready to answer the call.