One of Hinckley and Bosworth Community Hospital’s wards has been dedicated to treating patients with the Covid-19 coronavirus.
East Ward was designated as a Covid-19 ward at the beginning of April. Extra staff were brought in from elsewhere in the local NHS, with additional training given to all staff. Up to 20 patients at a time are being treated on the ward.
The ward was chosen because it is one of the most modern of Leicestershire’s community hospitals, with piped oxygen and side patient rooms with ensuite facilities which helps reduce the chances of infection spreading.
Karen Smith, deputy sister said: “We have got a really good team, we gel together well. We feel more safe here than we do outside – we have all the preparations of the Covid virus, we have all the equipment we need, and we know our patients are Covid-positive.
“We have never had a problem with PPE. Everything is in place.
“We had some additions from Hinckley and District Hospital and from Health Visiting. It has been a learning curve for them but they have integrated well. We have been well supported, if we have any questions or worries there is always the senior team to back us up.”
James Moore, physio team lead, said his team were exploring moving from five day to seven day working. This was helping them to social distance from each other, as well as getting earlier therapy to some patients.
Staff have had additional training on how to put on and take off their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and how to move patients safely. Many of their patients are older and are too ill to move themselves easily.
Suzanna Birkin, therapy lead at the hospital, said that most of the patients had previously been in care homes or in Leicester’s large hospitals.
She added: “A great deal of planning and preparation has gone into this. All the staff have pulled together really well. They are feeling confident and competent.
“We have had a lot of anxiety from patients, it has been quite challenging with the no-visit rule. We have been able to help patients keep in contact through video calls which has been really lovely.
“The patients who have been discharged are very grateful. We have had lots of cheers and applause as people leave the ward.”
Staff have created a tree of hope, celebrating all the patients who have recovered and been discharged from the hospital, and have “beaten” Covid-19. Some of the patients have written messages of thanks, while the discharge dates of others have been recorded.
East Ward also has a “wobble room” where staff can relax and unwind after the pressures of looking after patients. It is equipped with hot drinks, books and other distractions and treats which have been supplied by the local community. It has been decorated with a range of rainbow drawings created by local children.
To see behind the scenes at East Ward for yourself, please watch this short film https://youtu.be/L5z1n_6J32g .