Team effort sees all coronavirus patients recover at Cork city hospital

Team effort sees all coronavirus patients recover at Cork city hospital
Sarita Ravindran at St. Clare's Ward, St Finbarr's Hospital, Cork.Pic; Larry Cummins

A CORK nurse has spoken of the joy felt by patients and staff working at a rehabilitation unit in the city after all of the patients who were treated there for COVID-19 made a full recovery.

Sarita Ravindran is a clinical nurse manager (CNM2) at the rehabilitation unit at St Finbarr’s Hospital which provides care for older people, some who are recovering from stroke or surgery.

While COVID-19 can affect people of any age, older people can be particularly vulnerable to the disease.

A number of patients at the unit had tested positive for COVID-19, including some patients who had no symptoms of the virus.

Saritha Ravindran at St. Clare's Ward, St Finbarr's Hospital, Cork.Pic; Larry Cummins
Saritha Ravindran at St. Clare's Ward, St Finbarr's Hospital, Cork.Pic; Larry Cummins

At the beginning of the outbreak, some of these patients were transferred to Cork University Hospital, but others received treatment from the clinical teams on site.

Sarita Ravindran says the patients who were treated at the rehabilitation ward have now all fully recovered, and some have even been discharged home.

“When people have been discharged you can see they just want to give you a hug, but we can’t do that at the moment. 

"They are just so proud to have come through this,” she said.

Sarita admits the outbreak has had a significant impact on both patients and staff at the unit, as well as their families.

“We do worry for them [the patients] as they can’t see their families and they have all kinds of worries. To see us in PPE, it is frightening for them. They are missing their families,” she explains.

Staff have done their best to try to provide psychological and emotional support to patients, to help them stay connected with families by phone, or in some cases, through the window.

Boredom is also a concern, but Sarita says whatever they can do to help keep people entertained, they have done.

Saritha Ravindran at St. Clare's Ward, St Finbarr's Hospital, Cork.Pic; Larry Cummins
Saritha Ravindran at St. Clare's Ward, St Finbarr's Hospital, Cork.Pic; Larry Cummins

“We can’t have much activities at the moment, but one staff member brought in a guitar and was singing songs for people. Whatever we can do in small ways, we will do it,” she said.

Sarita says the COVID-19 outbreak can also present worries for staff who may be facing additional concerns around issues such as childcare at the moment.

“Staff are facing problems, they might have childcare issues, or are worried about any risks to see their children. 

"Life has completely changed and on the management side you have to think about that,” she said.

However, despite this she stressed that everyone is very positive and nobody has ever expressed any hesitation around providing care to patients.

“Everyone is very positive, and support is there and when we see patients recover, we really feel lucky,” she said.

The clinical nurse manager credits the positive outcomes at the unit to a true team effort.

“Teamwork has just been so important,” she said.

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