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COVID-19: What are your stories?

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Hi all,

I have posted on the hub my experiences of the COVID-19 crisis.  It would be fantastic to have more stories on the hub from those on the frontline here for others to read.  

How are you coping?  What tips/resources can you share?  What are the frustrations?  Are you prepared?  Have you enough equipment/PPE? 

If you are a member of the hub and would like to share, just reply to this post below. If you're not already a member of the hub, it's quick and free to join. Register here.

You can also write a blog and share in our dedicated coronavirus area in Learn.

I shall be writing more as the days and weeks go on, documenting my journey through home life and clinical work and the impact it is having on me, my family and our patients.

the hub is also running a poll to capture frontline workers' concerns.


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Is the language used by officials describing the coronavirus pandemic dehumanising those with underlying health conditions and making us feel we no longer matter?

In a blog published in the Guardian, Kathryn Hearn says the UK government’s treatment of the coronavirus outbreak has in effect written off all of us with health issues.


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hub member Phil has added a blog on the implications of retired staff rejoining their registers and returning to frontline care, and how short shifts may benefit us all.

What do you think?


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I too am especially concerned about the lack of PPE for the healthcare staff. 

I am also heartbroken to learn that some staff never had Fit tests for FfP3 even though we had training for Ebola which was not airborne. The training should have continued yearly and on induction for new staff as we always have a new virus.

Quite a number of staff still have no idea what a Fit test involves as some hospitals are either not doing them or doing a shortened version.

I am really distressed thinking of healthcare staff who are looking after coronavirus positive patients with inadequate PPE! Many of the patients will die and many healthcare staff will never know if they have the virus unless they get tested.

Hopefully when this is over, government and healthcare leaders will have  learnt from errors made and in future start early to utilise and involve  people who can help to expedite solutions.

With every negative there are always positives. I believe this virus not only brought the world together, it taught the world to wash their hands, the meaning of PPE, fit tests, FFP3 and N95 respirator masks and the value of the roles of everyone in society.

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The following comment was shared with us through the Global Patient Safety Network:

From the ICU trenches as an intensivist, I send my regards to all of you.

My 2 cents as it is busy and getting busier by the hour:

This is the time when our challenge as patient safety experts, advocates and enthusiasts to go back to the bedside and gain our front-staff confidence that we help them do their mission rather than present them with one more bureaucratic barrier they need to overcome to take care of the patient.

1. Staff need PPE; aggressive PPE. If we lose our workforce, we lose it all.

2. Staff needs less training modules and emails of new policies, and more on the ground assistance (e.g. tips/protocols for proning patients, facilitation of direct knowledge exchange across borders between similar practitioners, and facilitation of off-label use of medications that are showing promise).

Stay well.


Haytham Kaafarani, MD, MPH, FACS

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Shared by Carola Martino, MD Risk Manager and  Hospital Disaster Manager, Teaching Hospital of Pisa, and
GRC Team at Clinical Risk Management and Patient Safety Centre, Tuscany Region on the Global Patient Safety Network

Today our memory went back to 2016 when the Ebola epidemic was in final stage after devastating several Western African countries. At that time just isolated cases or secondary infections occurred outside Africa.

At that time what we were seeing in Africa was not a problem that would have interested high resources countries.

At that time, in 2016, we were working with WHO to be appointed WHO Collaborating Center and we were studying carefully all the documents that WHO was producing for supporting countries and healthcare systems in getting ready for an emergency, toolkit for evaluating the preparedness of our systems, checklists for evaluating logistics and medical devices and human resources, plans for community engagement.

Plans for "war" have to be defined, tested, simulated, spread, adapted during "peace" time.

But at that time pandemic or health emergency were problems that did not have anything to do with us.

Our risk manager and Hospital Disaster Manager, Doctor Carola Martino that is now working for managing the emergency and the related risks in the Teaching Hospital of Pisa underlines:” You need to exercise your mind to be able to adapt quickly to manage changes, we need to anticipate in time this exercise because in all these situations, time is the only resource that we will no longer be able to recover. This organizational strategy needs a structured method and lots of training and simulations. So we must take this commitment if we want all this experience not to be lost”

One very practical example of managing in different way during the emergency concerns the PPE management. This critical resource must be managed with a centralized approach, underlines Doctor Carola Martino. Infact, at the very beginning of the emergency there was no a single coordination line, or a centralized control of the PPE nor any national guideline that reflected international indications for the most appropriate use of PPE. It is fundamental in each hospital to have a specific procedure
and a centralized point of distribution to manage PPE in order not to waste basic equipment that is precious and scarce during the emergency. This is a small and practical example of different way of thinking during an emergency situation.

We believe that for the future to come, our communities of experts in the field of risk management,  human factor and ergonomic, quality and safety of care and public health should play all together an important role from the very beginning, from the time of peace. Another challenge at the moment is adapting our reporting and learning systems in new ways of tracing information for detecting system weaknesses and barriers to overcome. We have to respond to the situation and react as soon as possible to be

Human factors principles can be a guide to coordinate interactions among different stakeholders of the emergencies, simulation sessions the way to learn how to act together when the scenario become real.

We also believe that when the emergency will arrive to an end a profound reflection will have to be done on what really means global health, on what really means one health. May be this scaring crisis will be the opportunity to think again about this.

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