NHS staff on what it's like working with 'terrified' Covid patients in intensive care

Doctors working in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) during the pandemic.

NHS staff working in the West Country have spoken about how difficult it is to see "terrified" coronavirus patients "go through it alone".

As part of a series of video diaries, Great Western Hospital in Swindon has released footage showing a day in the life of two physiotherapists working in the hospital's intensive care unit.

Physiotherapy is really important for ventilated patients as it helps to wean them off ventilation be able to breathe on their own. The physios will also help get patients moving again after a long period in a hospital bed to get them ready to go home.

Newly-qualified respiratory physiotherapist Gemma Heaton said she's found it "quite difficult" to work through the pandemic, but rewarding to see patients recover and return home.

Watch the video from two physiotherapists working with Covid patients

Shauna Hanrahan is also a physio but has been working nursing shifts in intensive care to help during the pandemic.

"Today we had a patient get intubated and I heard him on the phone to his wife just before and he was terrified, and so was she, and it’s a really difficult thing to go through in the best of circumstances, let alone how things are at the minute.

"And not being able to be there with someone during that must be really difficult for them."

Shauna said working a nursing shift on ITU is not something physios would normally do, adding: "But we've learned so much doing it and it helps with their staffing as well.

"We’ve been really well looked after by all the team and I had a really good shift, helped with some proning – so turning the patient over onto their tummy – and was able to FaceTime the family of my patient even though he was intubated and ventilated.

"It was nice for them to be able to see him and speak to him, even if they can’t be with him at the minute.

Gemma said: "It’s really nice to see the patients that recover and get to go home. We get to follow that pathway with them which is just so lovely."

This is the second video diary to be posted on Facebook by the hospital, which frequently releases clips to inform the public about dealing with the pandemic.

One video sought to encourage people from minority backgrounds to take the coronavirus vaccine as there has previously been reluctance in the community to get the jab.

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