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"My Experience of Covid"

About: Belfast City Hospital / Intensive Care Unit Belfast City Hospital / Respiratory medicine Mater Hospital / Accident & Emergency Nightingale Wards / Nightingale 1

(as a service user),

My doctor advised me to go to the nearby Covid Hub.  They gave me steroids and antibiotics. I went home.  The next day I was struggling to breathe. 111 sent me an ambulance.  The ambulance staff were dead on, pleasant and talkative.  They took me to the Mater ED.  We had to wait for clearance.  They put me in a cubicle.  The staff asked my symptoms, took blood and did my obs.  After that I don't remember anything until I woke up in ICU in BCH Nightingale .  I spent four weeks in ICU.  When I woke up I had the ventilator in my mouth, I couldn't talk.  I couldn't move.  I tried to mouth things with my lips.  I felt scared because I didn't know what was happening.  I had confidence in some of the nurses.  I got on well with the staff.

After this, I was moved to the Covid ward 8 South.  I spent three weeks in there.  The staff were brilliant and easy to get on with.  They always spent enough time with each patient.  Some of them sat with me to keep me company.

On one occasion I needed the bedpan, pressed my buzzer.  The nurse came in with a bedpan on her own and got me to roll over so they could put the bedpan in.  It wasn't under properly.  Then left me and didn't leave me my buzzer.  10-15 minutes later they returned and asked if I was okay.  I said I was done but they left again and closed the door.  I tried shouting but no one came.  The bedpan started to rip and collapse.  Half an hour later another nurse came in, and I told them needed off the bedpan.  I was upset at this point because I'd been left and was starting to get sore.  Two nurses came back and apologised.  They got me sorted out.  One of the nurses reported the incident to the manager the following day.  This incident made me lose my confidence a wee bit, I lost a bit of trust after this too.

Two of the staff helped me gain a bit of confidence and trust back again.

I was then told I was going to Whiteabbey Nightingale and transport was booked.  It was St John's ambulance that took me to Whiteabbey.  The crew were dead on.

It was scary when I first came.  I felt lonely.

I have had OT and Physio.  It is tiring but I know I have to do it.  The OTs got me a chair and hoisted me out of bed to sit.  The chair is comfy.

The SALT have seen me.  I can now eat a normal diet again which I'm glad of.  I still need help to cut things.  The staff are helpful and pleasant.  The room is big but it's warm.  I have to have the windows open.

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Response from Margaret Reid, Service manager, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust 10 months ago
Margaret Reid
Service manager,
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Submitted on 24/03/2021 at 17:02
Published on Care Opinion on 25/03/2021 at 10:08

Hello, my name is Margaret Reid and I am the service manager for the 8 South in the Belfast City Hospital.

Firstly, I want to say thank you for sharing your story with us. On reading your story I can see how frightening,emotional and lonely this experience has been for you.

I can hear, from your story, that one of the most challenging issues was the loss of confidence and lack of trust you felt when nursing staff didn’t responded to your needs on 8 South.

I am truly sorry this was your experience and I am glad that two staff members were able to help you regain your confidence and trust. I want to assure you that I will share your story with the ward sister on 8 South and will ask her to ensure staff reflect on their actions to prevent this happening to another patient. I appreciate how frightened and lonely you felt when you were moved form 8 South to Whiteabbey Nightingale, this must have been a stressful time for you. I am glad that staff here have been pleasant and helpful and your room is comfortable.

I am pleased to read you are continuing to improve and are able to eat a normal diet again and hope you continue to recover.

I would like to thank you again for sharing your story and giving me the opportunity to take steps to prevent another patient from having this experience.


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Response from Lauren Henry, Assistant Clinical Services Manager - Nightingale, Whiteabbey Hospital, NHSCT 10 months ago
Lauren Henry
Assistant Clinical Services Manager - Nightingale, Whiteabbey Hospital,
Submitted on 30/03/2021 at 14:42
Published on Care Opinion at 14:42

Hello, my name is Lauren Henry. I am Assistant Clinical Services Manager at Whiteabbey Nightingale.

I am sincerely grateful you took the time to give me your experience of your rehabilitation in Whiteabbey Nightingale. I understand from your story you have been through so much during this illness. I appreciate it was a scary experience when you first arrived and it felt lonely. I hope the staff being helpful and pleasant has made this a wee bit easier. I can see you have been progressing and sitting out in a comfy chair. I will share this experience with the team so we can learn from your experience to make our care better for future patients.

I hope you are contiuing to progress and are on the mend.

Warmest wishes,

Lauren Henry

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