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Tales of a Research Nurse completing visits during COVID-19

Sarah Forrest, UK based Research Nurse

We all appreciate how difficult Covid-19 restrictions have been for every aspect of our work.

This has been difficult doing home visits as the patients are extremely worried about contracting the virus which is entirely understandable as they are so vulnerable.

One patient in particular would only allow me to see him in his garage. This was quite tricky when the visits were quite complicated requiring numerous blood samples which needed centrifuging and aliquoting into tubes for transportation.

The initial problem was the inability to wash my hands with running water as the patient provided me with a bowl of water and some soap. I washed my hands as best I could, then followed up with hand sanitizer prior to each procedure, in particular venepuncture.

The work surfaces were limited and I occasionally had to balance something on the lawn mower!

During the summer months, the garage was warm enough despite being a little draughty. The light was poor so the garage door had to be open. To provide the patient with some privacy, I parked my car in a position so that passers by could not see in as easily.

The draught also caused documentation to blow around at times also.

Another difficulty was not being able to use the toilet. For a short visit this wasn’t a problem but some of the visits lasted about 3 hours. Also during lockdown there were no coffee shops or restaurants so toilet facilities were limited!

Another patient allowed me to wash my hands in the kitchen but insisted I carried out the procedures in the sitting room. Only a small coffee table was available for leaning on but because the table was glass, I put the centrifuge on the floor.  Kneeling on the floor for 3 hours can be quite challenging.