Almost overnight, the landscape of the Intensive Care Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital changed.

As COVID-19 patients started to arrive, four-bed wards were quickly converted into individual negative pressure rooms. The usually smiling faces of the ICU team disappeared behind the protection of goggles and masks and the unit became a sea of yellow gowns and blue face masks. Families, such a crucial physical element in the healing of their critically ill loved ones, were no longer allowed inside.

For Bernadette Howell, a spiritual health practitioner on the unit, the shift in environment meant a shift in her work. Usually, as patients in the ICU are largely sedated and intubated, her primary role is to care for the visiting loved ones who are entering a critical care environment that is so alien and frightening to them.

“In the early days of the pandemic, instead of caring for loved ones and family members, I was connecting and caring for staff who were feeling anxious and fearful of what was happening and what was to come,” says Bernadette.

Read the full story on The Daily Scan.  

This page last updated May 21, 2020 10:51am PDT