Eoin Walker and Lucy Coulter: Mental Health and Life on the Frontline of Covid
Emergency Medicine Consultant and WEM Faculty Member Lucy Coulter joins us this week to discuss her experience working on the frontline in London during the COVID19 pandemic.
Alongside WEM Trauma Lead Eoin Walker, Lucy considers the complex situation that clinicians currently find themselves within. Lucy explains how, faced with hitting the peak in Central London, her hospital was forced to rapidly change the footprint of the ED to adapt to the treatment of patients testing as coronavirus positive.
The pair also consider the differences in their experiences in the Pre-Hospital and Emergency Department Care spheres. As a Paramedic, Eoin has faced a rising tide of demand. Factors such as workspace (i.e. the ambulance) and the need to treat patients on a case-by-case basis has limited the scope for pre-hospital practitioners to move from patient to patient under high-demand quickly. Lucy, on the other hand, discusses her experience within the hospital and the steps they’ve been able to take to control the rising caseload, including ‘Assessment Pods’ and the splitting of treatment areas into COVID ‘Green’ and COVID ‘Red’ zones.
Lucy and Eoin also consider the impact of Human Factors, both positive and negative, on patient care during this pandemic. They look at some of the steps taken by Lucy and her team to mitigate the impact of stressors such as fatigue, including increased staffing numbers, the creation of small teams and the avoidance of 12-hour shifts. The pair also consider how high workloads have pushed the debrief to the sideline, and how this is being combatted to ensure that everyone has the chance to talk about the events that have impacted them.
At a time when mental health cases are rising, among the general public but also medics, Lucy and Eoin remind us of the importance of human interaction and how reaching out is key.
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