COVID-19: daily welfare checks for self-isolating nurses address impact on well-being

Trust where hundreds of patients have died sets up psychological support for staff

Picture: iStock

Self-isolating nurses at a trust that is among those most affected by COVID-19 are receiving daily welfare checks on their health and well-being.

As of 15 April there had been 350 deaths of patients with COVID-19 at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Northwick Park and Ealing hospitals.

Daily checks monitor the psychological effects of work

COVID-19-related deaths at the trust have at times reached as many as 25 a day, which has taken its toll on the staff working there.

Trust critical care nursing head Trish Mukherjee said the ‘large group’ of nurses and other healthcare staff absent from work are now receiving daily welfare checks – not just to check on their physical health, but also on the psychological effects the virus might be having.

Ms Mukherjee acknowledged that nurses could not help but be frightened by the reports of other nurses dying from the disease. 

‘Seeing colleagues who have passed away in different organisations will have an impact and will be frightening,’ she said.

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Well-being support for staff who are affected

Ms Mukherjee said she had no doubt there would need to be ‘systems in place’ for staff when things return to normal.

‘You live for now and you have to work and care for patients, but at the end of it, people may have a lot of emotional issues they may need to come to terms with. We will have to offer support to them.’

Consultants at the trust have set up a group that can connect staff who are struggling with clinically trained professionals they can talk to. Occupational health is on site and ‘an intensive package of well-being support’ has been introduced.

Jubilant send-off for nurse as she recovers from COVID-19

Nurse Alicia Borja made an emotional exit from her workplace on 16 April when she was discharged to continue her recovery from COVID-19.

Colleagues from the emergency department and other areas at Northwick Park Hospital lined the corridors to cheer.

Ms Borja, pictured left, thanked her colleagues, who she referred to as her ‘second family’.

‘I’ve got so much love for them. They are such a fantastic team. It’s been really tough. 

‘I’m a nurse, but it’s still scary to go through something like this – I was in tears when I was discharged because so many colleagues lined the corridors to wish me well.’


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