Some patients go in for COVID-19, others are infected alongside another issue. In hospitals, those lines blur
Some jurisdictions are now breaking down hospital data into patients admitted directly for COVID-19, and those admitted for other health issues who also test positive. But clinicians say those buckets don't capture the reality on the ground: major pressure on hospitals, and poorer outcomes for patients.As chief of critical care for the Scarborough Health Network, Betts has treated several patients with diabetic ketoacidosis, a build-up of acids in the blood that's a life-threatening complication of diabetes, which can be triggered by viral infections.
For the past two years, health-care professionals in the hospital intensive care units across B.C. have been stretched to the limit during wave after wave of COVID-19, which has left many experiencing mental health challenges and burnout.
"The last two years have really taken a toll on me and the rest of my health-care staff," said Stephanie Stanton, a respiratory therapist at Royal Columbian Hospital.
"I think there has been little to no recognition for services on our mental health to help us get through this time period and I think the public is kind of feeling that this pandemic is over, but for us, it's still a reality."
Hospitalized for COVID or with COVID? The answer can be tricky, doctors say
New Brunswick Public Health is announcing the number of hospital patients who are admitted for COVID-19, and those who tested positive after admission, and some experts say distinguishing the two statistics can sometimes be tricky.It's a distinction New Brunswick Public Health has been making recently in how it reports the number of people in hospital with the disease, and one which highlights the complexity around crediting COVID-19's role in certain illnesses, experts say.
Stanton said the pandemic has taken an emotional toll on her and she's been experiencing compassion fatigue.
"I'm not sure how many more waves we're going to go through but it's been really tough," Stanton said. "It's difficult when you're seeing so much trauma in a short amount of time, to continue to feel compassionate toward your patients.
A poll conducted by the B.C. Hospital Employees Union (BCHEU) found a third of health-care workers in the province want to quit their job in the next two years.
Stanton said she's not surprised to see others wanting to leave their careers, as she too has is considering doing the same.
This Pandemic Anniversary Is Nothing Like Last Year
Two years into the pandemic, we are untrusting of the ups and guarding ourselves against the downs—but there is reason to hope, even if it feels hard right now. The post This Pandemic Anniversary Is Nothing Like Last Year appeared first on Best Health.
"I came into this role thinking that this was going to be a long-term position for me and I've already started to look at other options," she said.
"And many of the staff I work with have confided in me and told me that they're also looking elsewhere for other positions."
Video: Province knew of Thunder Bay transfer possibility days before it happened, NDP says (cbc.ca)
Effects of the pandemic
David Riar, an intensive care unit nurse at Royal Columbian Hospital, says while there has been a decrease in patients with COVID-19, the physical and mental burnout and challenges of working through a pandemic still linger among colleagues and hospital staff.
"We're reduced to pretty much one or two people now that have COVID, so that's good," said Riar.
Building back equitably: 4 ways to address mental health inequities magnified by the pandemic, and ensure access to care
You don’t need statistics to appreciate the profound effects that COVID-19 restrictions limiting social connections and access to services have had on our collective mental health. And yet, statistics — paired with qualitative data that offer in-depth descriptions of what people are experiencing — are essential for monitoring improvements, or lack thereof, during the process of recovery from the past two years of cumulative stress. However,However, aggregate trends (which combine data from all members of a population) can be misleading. Even worse, they can exacerbate inequities by giving the erroneous impression that the data apply to everyone in the same way.
"There's experiences of clumping patients into rooms together ... not getting enough breaks and trying to make sure you're nourished and mentally going on and on — some of those images are embedded in my head," he said.
'Burden was too tough'
Steven Reynolds, a physician at Royal Columbian Hospital, says one of the challenges he experienced was staying mentally healthy while working long hours at the hospital.
"I stepped away from one of my leadership roles because the burden was too tough," said Reynolds. "Often health-care workers are not explicit when they need help."
He said the toughest moment for him was when crowds of people opposed to COVID-19 vaccinations clogged the streets of Vancouver and demonstrated outside hospitals across the province.
"To get a sense that somehow we're holding the negative information or doing negative things to our patients, really got to the core of our values," said Reynolds.
"So that was a tough moment."
Reynolds said after two years of the pandemic, he's learned how to deal with the stress of being on the front-lines in the fight against COVID-19.
"I found the only way I could really deal with it at this point in my professional career is to just step back. I'm just doing the job ... and I'm always going to be doing my work, so I don't really want to get too focused on other stuff."
10 more COVID-related deaths, 192 people in hospital .
New Brunswick has recorded 10 more COVID-related deaths and 79 people are hospitalized because of the virus, including 13 in intensive care, according to the weekly update Tuesday from the government. But there are actually 192 COVID-related hospitalizations across the province, figures released Tuesday by the Horizon and Vitalité health networks show. That's up from 178 last week.