Surviving COVID -19

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Thank you Lynde.

This darn virus has made difficult situations even tougher. Love and prayers to you too.

Welcome to PS Anne.

I work in a nursing home. We have been very fortunate as none of our patients have been sick with the virus. All the screening and PPE has become our new normal as we are closely screened before entering the center. It was a chore at first but ever the patients are adjusting to the change. I'm not sure we will ever return to what we once called "normal" and I am learning to be OK with that.

As an essential worker, I was never affected by the stay at home orders so with businesses being reopened I'm trying to shop as many small businesses as possible.

Thank you Gina.

Yes, I think that there were be permanent changes in all the homes. Elderly people are very vulnerable especially in a group setting.

What do you do in your home - nurse, personal support worker, activity staff, physio, occupational or behavioural therapist, dietary or housekeeping? I have a lot of admiration for my mom's staff. Most of them are very good ( was visiting her often before the outbreak). It isn't an easy job and most are not that well paid.

I'm sorry for being late responding to the question Anne. I am a nursing home nurse on a long term care unit.

We recently had a few positive COVID cases on my unit. This has caused some stricter restrictions. I am now wearing a N95 mask, full face shield, head covering, shoe coverings, and plastic clothing while on the job. As you can imagine, plastic clothing is very HOT, in the south, in July - not to mention that elderly people are frequently cold so some of them have the heat on in their rooms. We cannot remove our mask or shied while on the unit so we are not able to even get a drink of water. We are dehydrated.

Some nurses have left the field because this is unlike anything they could have ever imagined. The struggle is real. Please do not interpret this as a complaint. I am not complaining. I just want people to understand what it's like on the inside. So many people have stepped up, going above and beyond their job description in order to help in whatever way they can. For this, they deserve to be called heroes.

I agree, each and every one of you putting your lives at risk to care for others makes you heroes, but I also believe the government in the UK and those responsible elsewhere for the the pay and working conditions of those providing free health care are using the title "hero" to withhold better pay and safer working conditions, because you're heroes, you don't need recognition beyond an arbitrary title in their eyes. They're wrong.

We live in a backward world. Those who play sports or work in the entertainment industry earn extreme amounts of money every day while the essential workers struggle to keep food on the table. My pay is above average for my field but not everyone is so fortunate.

Thank you for your hard work and caring so much for your residents. It's nurses like you that make all the difference. My dad spent the last few years of his life in a nursing home and I grew to care for the nurses and the relationship that they had with him. It most definitely is a calling that isn't compensated nearly enough for all that they do!

Gina, thank you for sharing about your work in Aged Care. It is a very special work you do.
I know about it as I am a volunteer in Aged Care. Sadly I am unable to continue in that role since the Nursing Home locked down in March due to the Covid19. They still do not want volunteers to return yet. I miss the residents as some have become like family to me. It has been like grieving I have been experiencing. I have made greetings cards ( Thinking of You or I Miss You) and sent those to the ones I have the most to do with. One precious lady wrote back to me. Now I am about to start to write to those same ones again in small letter form but decorated papers with digital images like I did with the cards. They each had something on their card to do with their personality.... Ethel who loves dogs had a dog on her card; Doreen whose room always smells nice because she uses a lot of perfume so on her card I had an image of a perfume bottle and in the card I said how I missed not walking into her pretty smelling room. .... etc.

I am guessing that it may not be until winter is over that they will allow me back. ( it is winter here now in Australia where I am).

@ Anne-Marie. Has the virus slowed down any since it's winter? We thought our summer heat would slow the spread but that hasn't happened here.

Australia was doing really well and everything was starting to open up again with distance restrictions etc but sadly there has been a big outbreak through people attending a few restaurants in our southern state of Victoria. Another smaller outbreak in my state but in the very south.
With the hot weather not slowing the virus just shows how severe it is.
To my knowledge there was only one case in my small town (1500population) and this person contracted it back early March before the lock down and she had visited friends way up north in our country who had visitors there from overseas who brought the virus with them. The Aged Care where I volunteer has had no cases.

@GinaJones thank you so much for the work you so with residents in long term care. It isn't easy work under the best of circumstances and these are far from best of circumstances. I appreciate all the staff at my mom's home.

They've started scheduled outside visits again at my mom's long term care home. My mom's home had 2 cases, 1 death and 1 recovery. Unfortunately some of the homes with older buildings had big outbreaks (especially the for profit homes.) The Canadian Army and some hospitals took over some homes. There will be changes in long term care here in Ontario, Canada as a result. (No more homes with 4 in a room, more funding for newer buildings etc) and there will be an investigation into what contributed to the outbreaks in some long term care homes. Our provincial premier (like a governor) has a mother-in-law in a home that was badly affected so I think there is political incentive to change.

For the first couple of visits our province required negative Covid tests within the last 2 weeks (I got the results the next day after the test.) They no longer require negative tests for outside tests although we still have to wear masks, maintain distance and they sanitize the area between visitors.) They just started inside visits (in the lounge) with negative tests required. I'm bringing my 94 year old dad to the next visit. He and my mom only live separately because of her Alzheimer's . (He lives in a retirement home and is still very sharp although getting frail. His home was also on lockdown for a number of months. ) They haven't seen each other for 5 months - the longest period they've been apart in 67 years of marriage.

We've just moved to Stage 3 here (Toronto in Ontario, Canada) but I'm still not going out much because of my Type 2 diabetes & age. My best friend's husband is considering resigning from his job as a school bus driver for medically fragile kids because they feel not enough precautions will be taken. She's very high risk (has Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and had tuberculosis). She's a retired nurse. Unfortunately, he's younger & only 60 so he'll take a big cut in benefits by retiring early.

Hi Gina,

I have the greatest respect for you and all your colleagues. I can't image what it must be to work under these very difficult circumstances. Wow, working with all this PPE must be a pain in the heat of the summer.

Here in Europe the virus isn't also not slowing down ... in fact the numbers are going back up because the people were/are on vacation in Spain and Greek (where it's really hot). The Spanish island of Mallorca is one of the most famous vacation spots for German tourist with a lot of bars and clubs (that means no masks, no physical distancing but too much drinking and shouting) and these tourists are bringing the virus back when returning. Also some people became a little bit careless and failed to comply with the restrictions.

But now our health minister decided that everybody who returns from outside of Germany can get tested. If someone returns from a country or region that's declared as risky, like now some parts of Spain and Turkey, it's mandatory and the test take place right after arrival at the airport. Otherwise it's recommended to get tested within the next 72 hours after coming back.

I really hope the numbers will go down again, because school starts here in Lower Saxony at the end of August and my kids are tired of remote learning.

I don't believe that there will be a vaccine in the next few months, perhaps next year. So the new normal for a while for all of us will be: wear a mask - keep physical distancing - wash your hands often. So simple and so effective ...

So please be careful and stay safe.

I hope they're testing people who have travelled from the UK as well. We've completely messed up looking after the most vulnerable in our society and communities. I feel awful about our government's recklessness.