When the news of the pandemic, Coronavirus disease Covid-19 (Covid-19), broke in China, the department of health put out a training guideline on the 02/03/2020. Hospice took the proactive stand of doing an in-service training on Covid-19 for all nursing staff, soon after social distancing and the cancellation of all social events/gatherings was immediately implemented.
This article begins with a reminder that today (24 June 2020) marks the 90th day of the National Lockdown and life and/or our approach to life, as we knew it – is having to adapt. All aspects of our private, social and working lives have had to change.
During stage 5 of the National Lockdown duties were revised and shaped to fit the challenges that we faced, health protection was of even more importance than ever, and ongoing education was needed:
- All our staff, except for the Charity Shop staff, worked from home. We continued to carry out our palliative services to the patients/people of the Buffalo City Metro.
- There was a strong need to protect our staff and patients form the covid-19 infection.
- Staff visited patients that needed our care, visits were cut back to only those that were urgent, no unnecessary visits were made, especially to places of care where any form of access and/or visitation was denied – even to members of the family.
- Staff kept telephonic communication with all our patients.
- Our social department and care-givers had to stop visiting hospitals and clinics.
- Care givers found transport and the availability of taxis difficult and had to rely on their own transport and/or help from the professional nurses.
- Everyone had to understand that the key to staying safe was to practice social distancing, which meant no socializing at all, and use of Personal protective equipment. We had to ensure that everyone adhered to the correct way of wearing a mask and taking it off.
- Staff had to practice strict protocols and do daily health checks. It is vital for our staff to stay healthy, in order to carry out their duties and protect their patients.
- Continued education was practiced on an ongoing basis by staff, patients and family members.
- Continued monitoring of symptoms of Covid-19 was carried out on an ongoing basis, with patients and family.
- Education on what to do if you had positive symptoms of Covid-19 was repeated time after time.
- The importance of personal protective equipment (PPE), the cleaning and maintenance of equipment was reiterated.
- The importance of having a valid Last Will and Testament, a Power of Attorney and finalizing any unfinished business was discussed with patients as well. This is a topic that we all need to pay closer attention to.
- We were fortunate enough to negotiate with a funder to fund masks and gloves instead of work shirts for the patient care staff.
- We extend our grateful thanks to all the people of Buffalo metro for donations and sewing of aprons, masks and full gowns. We are really appreciative of you all.
In conclusion, I would like to express my personal thanks to the department of health who assisted in making everyone aware of the dangers of contracting Covid-19 virus.
A special thank you must go out to our staff – they have been the real warriors! They continued with their duties, throughout the Lockdown, practicing self- protection and maintaining a very high standard of care for their patients.
Hospice has continued its work in this manner throughout all the different stages of the lockdowns and continues to do the best that we can for our patients.