I have worked as a healthcare assistant on a general medicine ward specialising in dementia for the last three and a half years. I have also been doing the nursing apprenticeship alongside this since January 2018.
Since the pandemic started I have never seen the hospitals so quiet. The ward I am normally on has 27 beds which are ALWAYS full but at our quietest since March we only had 6 patients. Clinics have been shutting down to the point where there were 8 members of staff for only a handful of patients. At our highest ever empty bed capacity there were over 500 beds empty. There’s been a 50% decrease in A&E attendance, one day with only 11 people attending A&E compared to the hundreds only a few months before. Wards have also recently been OVERstaffed due to fewer patients, staff being redeployed from clinics and all of the staff that have come back to work after leaving/ retirement. To me with all of the recognition from the public recently it all seems a bit strange.
You take this back to Christmas and there would be 4/5 patients fighting for one bed, stupendous pressures on us to discharge patients with staffing levels at an all time low. Stress levels would be through the roof as you would have patients requiring one to one care due to their dementia but not enough staff to care for them so you would have to decide between assisting a patient with going to the toilet or trying to stop a patient from falling. You would also have the juggle relatives wanting updates but not being able to be there to support them as everyday would be non-stop doing upwards of 8miles on the wards just trying to care for patients at a basic level.
I wish the public would have seen how much we do with so little before this pandemic, then I would feel worthy of the recognition being given.