Volunteering with Lewisham Hospital’s A&E during the COVID-19 pandemic

makepositive’s own Simon Robins volunteers at Lewisham Hospital’s A&E helping to directly support COVID-19 positive patients

I volunteer mainly in A&E at Lewisham Hospital. The side of the A&E department that you are placed on during your shift determines the sort of patients you treat, but generally we are working directly with COVID positive patients. My first shift I did have a bit of apprehension, but after a couple minutes the work takes over and I didn’t give it another thought. 

As volunteers we can do quite a range of tasks such as; documenting a handover from paramedics on arrival, monitoring a patient’s heart rate, breathing, temperature, take blood pressure and blood glucose level readings and even run an ECG if required. 

I personally enjoy the more pastoral care because patients are not allowed any friends or relatives with them, and this can all be quite scary, so just standing with them for ten minutes and having a chat about family life or TV, helps to calm them.  It also allows us to monitor how alert they are and assess any increase in confusion, things that are both warning signs of the patient’s deterioration – but really I just like having a chat!

Volunteering has allowed me to see first-hand the devastating effects of this virus and the impact it has on people in a very short period and that has been very difficult at times. 

It has, however, also allowed me to meet and work alongside some of the incredible healthcare professionals in the NHS. They work unbelievably hard in what can be extremely overwhelming situations and yet they are unwavering in their dedication and care for their patients. I am often completely in awe of them and I am so grateful that I can help them, even in this small way.

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