Fronline account of Cumbernauld physio in virus battle at Monklands

A Cumbernauld physiotherapy boss swapped her usual role for a stint in an intensive care unit at Monklands Hospital to help tackle Coronavirus.

And her testimony provides further insight into the mammoth task this has involved for medics.

A physiotherapy team lead for surgical and critical care, Lorraine Senior is used to the ICU environment, but coronavirus proved to be unchartered territory

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Lorraine from Broadwood said:“The highest number of coronavirus patients when I was there was 15, aged from their 20s to their 80s. We would typically know a lot about our patients, so it was very difficult not having their families visiting as this helps inspire people to get better.

“There were 12 physiotherapists in total, and we all did 12-hour shifts, day and night, for four weeks.

“Each physio was assigned a patient to look after which required us to assist in completing 24-hour observations charts, hourly fluid balance recording, adjusting and changing infusions of drugs under the direction of nursing staff, taking blood samples off for analysis, and personal patient care.

“In our traditional roles we were still providing chest physio to those patients needing help to clear sputum from their airways, and assisting teams to turn patients onto their stomachs, which helps improve their oxygen levels, as well as optimally positioning patients and mobilising them where it was appropriate. 

“The emotional toll in ICU was far higher than usual.

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“It amazed me how responsible you felt for the patient due to nursing them for 12 hours at a time as we usually rehabilitate patients for an hour a day.”

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