Rhian Gibson, our Clinical Lead Therapist for Acute Respiratory, Critical Care and Surgery, has been talking to us about setting up a seven-day physiotherapy service and why it’s key for our patients’ recovery from Covid-19.
“Previously, our service was limited at weekends, with one physiotherapist at both King George and Queen’s hospitals. The team of 19 has increased to 39, as physiotherapists from outpatient areas such as musculoskeletal have joined to assist in critical care.
"We have done lots of training for physiotherapists and it has been quite a challenge managing and mentoring such a large team who are not used to the critical care environment; however it really has been uplifting to see how everyone has pulled together.
“Patients are sometimes younger than we are used to treating, and this is a complex disease. It’s not a matter of just getting patients out of bed as their oxygen levels can drop quickly. It’s a gradual process. We have also been helping with weaning patients from ventilators and have assisted in proning patients (a procedure where clinical teams move a patient onto their front). This all contributes to reducing the time a patient spends in critical care.
“Some of the other tasks our team has been involved in while in critical care include washing and observations which has helped to reduce pressure on nursing staff.”
Rhian also talked about the emotional impact this new way of working could have on staff, and the importance of our newly-created wellbeing spaces where staff can rest, relax and access information about support services, Rhian said: “We were worried at first that the work would be so demanding we would not be able to cope. The team members have come into a stressful environment. The importance of emotional wellbeing and support is noticeable and we have been making use of the wellbeing rooms provided at both hospitals.”