Covid funds support stress management for staff during pandemic

It may feel as if we are starting to emerge into the sunlight from the Covid 19 pandemic, but for many of our hospital staff there is a lasting legacy which could threaten to cast dark clouds over the coming months.
Liam Button, Sister on Roskear Ward at Royal Cornwall Hospital, recently recorded his experience and lasting feelings in a video which reminds us that although in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly we often felt we were escaping the worst of the pandemic the impact runs deep and largely unseen for many.

“Every day before 8 o’clock at least one person died and that was every day for a month and that would continue throughout the day, someone else would die, somebody else would go to intensive care and it was endless. Things changed so quickly by the hour. A patient could be fine one minute and then they would be fighting for their lives the next and to try to explain that to relatives over the phone was impossible,”

Liam Button.

Recognising the importance of helping staff to come to terms with their experiences and to process their thoughts and feelings, it was agreed that Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity would fund a series of psychological support sessions focusing on stress management for some of our frontline staff.

Matron Clair Stansfield, Sister on Wellington Ward during the pandemic, attended a session and witnessed first-hand the value in providing these focus groups.

“During the second wave when we were hit the hardest our teams operated in a very insular manner. The normal visits from colleagues were gone and we worked together as a very close knit team to get through a very challenging period. We gave the best care we could not just to our patients but also to each other. We all had to find our inner strength to get through,” Clair explained.

“During this very difficult period I witnessed a real shift in how we worked on Wellington Ward. Regardless of job role everyone was focused on doing what was needed for the comfort and care of our patients. Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Health Care Assistants were all prepared to support each other in whichever role that may be. We were a team working to the needs of the patient at that time. This integrated working, where we all stand together as one team, has left a legacy,”

said Clair.

“The chance to take part in a reflective session has been so beneficial. The opportunity to look back and talk about some very difficult situations, a chance to reflect and draw out what we did well has been crucial. With the skilled support of the session facilitator these kinds of learnings can help everyone move forward with a positive focus.” Clair concludes.

Critical Incident Stress Management Debrief (provided by Employee Assistance Programme) – it as a proactive intervention involving a group meeting or discussion about a particularly distressing critical incident. Based on core principles of crisis intervention, the CISM is designed to mitigate the impact of a critical incident and to assist the individuals in recovery from the stress associated with the event.

The CISM is delivered by a specially trained trauma counsellors / responders with three main objectives:

  • Mitigate the impact of a traumatic incident.
  • Aid in the psychological recovery of otherwise healthy people distressed by a traumatic incident.
  • Identify those who may benefit from additional support services, or a referral for specialised counselling.

It is thanks to donations to the Covid 19 Fund of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity that these sessions have been made possible. Donations can still be made to the fund here.

Watch ‘See it My Way’ with Liam Button

Added on 5 July 2021, in Charity - Where Your Money Goes

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