Imperfectly Beautiful Story #4: An Essential Worker’s New Challenges: Katrina is an occupational therapist who works in a skilled nursing facility. Hear her story below about what the past few months have been like for her and her residents.
“Working during this time has brought on a new set of challenges.”
“Working in healthcare during a global pandemic is something I never thought I would be a part of. As the world was shutting down around me, I was part of the group deemed “essential” and the “healthcare heroes.” While I am thankful to have not lost my job during this hard time, working during this time has brought on a new set of challenges. Working in a large skilled nursing facility, we have over 70 residents that live at our facility. The health department began giving out regulations for how our facility will have to run, beginning in probably mid March. Our nursing facility shut our doors to everyone except for the employees in our building.
My residents have not seen their families except for through a window and by talking on the phone in almost 5 months. This has caused many of our residents to decline, even to the point where we had a very high number of residents passing away (of natural causes), as I like to think, a broken heart of not seeing their families, friends, etc. As an occupational therapist, it is my job to make sure my patient’s stay strong and at the level where they are able to do as much for themselves as possible. Seeing them decline from something out of all of our control is/was heartbreaking.
Being a therapist during this time has brought on new challenges as well. Every resident who comes into our facility has to go into our “isolation hallway” for 14 days. We have to wear full PPE (what we had, when we had it- due to shortages) when working with these residents, as they have the possibility to be exposed to COVID-19, and we are taking every precaution to keep it away from our residents. We still treat these patients, and have had to step up our creativity in order to provide quality therapy without the luxury of utilizing the tools we have in our therapy gym.
While we are not out of the woods yet as things appear to be getting worse again in our communities, and our regulations from the health department are constantly changing. I am thankful to be able to live, learn, and work during this life changing time in our world.”
Thanks, Katrina for sharing your story!