Stay at home!

Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives

As you know from my previous blogs over the last few years, as a family we’ve experienced multiple hospital admissions for our parents. We have accompanied them in ambulances, sat with them in A&E, remained there until they’ve been admitted to wards, visited them every day without fail and after mom’s stroke we were on vigil (taking turns) from start of visiting in the morning to the end of visiting at night, every day for 15+ weeks. During these many experiences we have come to appreciate the valuable job that the NHS staff do (from the cleaners to the consultants) and also understand the incredible amount of pressure that they are under. Wards are often short staffed and under equipped. Staff are often overworked and definitely underpaid. In general, as with many vocational careers (eg teachers), healthcare providers are undervalued.

On each occasion we were fortunate enough to be there for enough time to build up a rapport with the medical team caring for our parent and our physical presence helped to ease their workload as we would often assist by attending to the personal care needs of our parents. The last experience we had in hospital was almost 18 months ago when our father passed away. We were all able to be with him from A&E, to ward admission, in the few days preceding and on the last night before he passed. Even more precious was the fact that we were all with him in his final hours.

Ok so why share all of that? I’m sharing it to admonish you to STAY AT HOME.

Right now due to ill health and/or self isolation, the wards are even more short staffed than before. I have nurse friends telling me stories of how hard it is out there on the frontline, one of whom had just finished after 45 hours of being on duty. Yes 45 hours. And stories of only a minimum amount of staff nurses assigned to large bed wards. People are dying not just from Covid-19 but from other illnesses or issues because there isn’t the capacity to administer the best health care that we all deserve. The NHS is stretched beyond capacity hence the government appeal for volunteers and the measures put in place for final year medical students (doctors and nurses) to be permitted to start working from now. We do not have enough specialist equipment like ventilators, PPE for doctors and nurses or testing kits.

Which brings me to the second layer of my appeal. We are facing a harsh reality. As more people are contracting the virus and admitted to hospital, especially our elderly loved ones (70yrs plus) or those with underlying health conditions, unfortunately now you would not have the experience that I described above. Instead, this is what would probably happen 1) You would not be able to travel with your loved one in the ambulance 2) You would not be able to visit them, as most, if not all, hospitals have a ‘no visitors’ policy in place at the moment. 3) They may even be taken to one of the temporary hospitals that are being set up which may not be local to where you live 4) Through no fault of their own, the NHS staff are under time constraints so when you call to check on the well being of your loved one, it could be ages before you get through. 5) Your loved one may deteriorate quicker due to no visits, lack of physical contact/connection, lack of attention, let alone vital signs being missed 6) If it gets to the stage of them requiring a ventilator, they are in short supply. Elderly patients would not be given priority so they would be left to ‘fight to live’ in their weakened state which would most probably end in death. 7) You would not be permitted to be with your loved one whilst they were dying – no visitors remember 8) No family gatherings to support the bereaved family due to social distancing and lockdown 9) Very limited numbers for funerals and burials, with social distancing being exercised.

For me all of the above is a sad reality. So if we can play our part towards ‘flattening the curve’ and maybe even reducing fatalities then let’s do that. What’s a few months of the inconvenience of isolation/lockdown in comparison to the loss of lives?

If we adhere to the guidelines given by the government we will lessen the impact that the Covid-19 virus has on us as a country and maybe save the lives of some of our very own loved ones.

If you want to get ideas of how to fill your time during lockdown then checkout google, YouTube and Instagram for a number of people who have lots of positive ideas to share with the world at this time.

Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives. Wash your hands. Keep your distance.

Disclaimer: the thoughts shared here are all my own based on information gained from news reports, conversations with friends who are health professionals working on the front line, knowledge of people who have been in hospital recently for Covid-19 plus unfortunately knowing people who have lost loved ones. I do not claim to have expert knowledge on these matters. Please ensure that you do your own research/reading and exercise the measures advised by our government.