As quickly as spring was approaching, in mid-March, our lives seemed to come to a screeching halt. Every healthcare employee was thrown into the pandemic of COVID-19 and none of us seemed prepared enough for it. Ready or not, each morning we entered our building ready to take on our days, give our all to our patients, yet we were facing each day with so many unknowns, questions, And what if’s.
Through all the whirlwind of the numerous changes weekly, daily and even hourly, two things remained the same and even got better; the strength of our team and the love of our patients and devotion to making their lives full and meaningful.
With so many changes happening day in and day out, our team worked hard, remained upbeat and positive, and never lost sight of putting our patients first. We focused each day on providing our patients with meaningful, functional treatments and even more on making sure our patients felt the love we have for them in our hearts, knowing that we were the only form of affection they were getting with the new regulations that hit them hard; no visitations.
Amy, COTA/L, stated, “I believe the virus made me step back and slow down. I spend more time one on one with my residents and truly get to know them as 99.9% of our treatments are in their room and/or on their unit. It made me step out of my comfort zone (the gym) and focus on more functional tasks specifically ADLs and IADLs.”
Taking a step back and re-shifting our thought process to see the positives in our days is not always easy, but one of our PTs, Julie, has found that taking the treatment sessions to the rooms and the units has not only helped us as a team to focus more on functional tasks, but it has allowed us to incorporate nursing staff in our treatment sessions and day to day therapy life. Allowing nursing to see us in a different light and truly see how together as an interdisciplinary team we can help our patients meet their goals and have a more meaningful life even in the midst of a pandemic.
Through the days and weeks, our team has grown stronger in our communication with each other as well as to our nursing staff of our patients’ wants and needs, knowing that above all our service to them was first and foremost through these trying times. We became even stronger advocates for them as we could see first-hand the effects COVID-19 was having on them. Not knowing and understanding why their families aren’t visiting and leaving some patients feeling uneasy like they have done something “wrong.” Michelle, SLP, shared that she feels the residents enjoy us taking extra time to simply stop in a resident’s room just to visit with them at the end of a day. She feels the joy resulting from a visit is evident in their expression. Those are some of the small extra efforts our team put forth to show our patients the love and care that they deserve but are unable to receive from their loved ones. Our team bond grew tighter as we all faced this pandemic side by side. As a team, we have grown closer and stronger and have responded 100% with positive energy regardless of what our days entail. The laughs have grown louder and all in all our team has grown into a tightly-knit family.
With so many negatives that can pop up each day, we are proud to say that through our eyes, we have seen so many more positives.