“In the ICU, patients are primarily taken care of by a multidisciplinary team which consists of: nurses, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists, dieticians, pharmacists and occupational therapists, and I’m sure I’m forgetting someone,” says Dr. Donald Griesdale, ICU physician at VGH. “And don’t forget there are the huge number of support staff — cleaners, people to stock equipment, radiology technicians, biomedical engineering, facilities, maintenance and operations. Everyone is part of the care team.”

Treating a COVID patient is all about the details for Dr. Griesdale – every staff interaction requires full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including a face shield, N95 mask, gown and gloves.

But the toughest part, according to Dr. Griesdale, is limiting a patient’s interaction with their loved ones.

“Families aren’t able to be in our critical care COVID Unit, which is really hard on both the patient and the family,” explains Dr. Griesdale.

Seeing this unusual divide between patients and their loved ones truly highlights the importance of family engagement in a patient’s care.

“We are using technology to help, like FaceTime, but I’m hoping we can continue to improve on getting families back as part of the care team,” says Dr. Griesdale.

Fighting onward

At the end of the day, when his patients are set and cared for, Dr. Griesdale feels tired, but his motivation is unwavering. He’s pulling in extra hours to ensure those who need it are cared for. This is what he knows he needs to do in in the midst of an unprecedented battle.

“This pandemic has taken its toll, but we’re fighting through it together,” says Dr. Griesdale.

The infection grows worse

The COVID-19 patient’s condition continues to deteriorate. He is under round-the-clock, world-class care, yet the infection is still impacting his body.

But Dr. Griesdale’s colleagues, Dr. Myp Sekhon and Cheryl Wellington, PhD, have an idea. They take a sample of the patient’s blood and bring it to be analyzed at Dr. Wellington’s donor-funded lab at UBC. Their research could be the answer to saving this patient’s life.

In the meantime,the patient remains in ICU under the expert hands of Dana Fedor, an ICU nurse working to help COVID infected patients at VGH. Continue reading.

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