Ewan Pow is a clinical support worker at the Hospital Based Complex Clinical Care (HBCCC) – which is a hospital based complex clinical care for the elderly – in Edinburgh and has seen firsthand the strain the virus has had.
At the start of the pandemic the 20-year-old worked as a mortuary assistant – responsible for the transport and processing of patients who’ve passed away in the hospital – at The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh before starting his new role. Explaining what he does now, he said: “I’m part of what has been aptly named the ‘Covid team’. We initially were placed in hospitals that had higher rates of Covid-19, so either on wards in the major hospitals or in community hospitals. I operated in HBCCC for a lot of the ‘meatier’ parts of Covid.
“Now, our role is more diverse, we’ve done everything from covering staffing gaps from people who are shielding, who contracted the virus, or are dealing with “long-Covid-19” which is something that is definitely going to be a big issue for people who survive. We will cover these staffing gaps.”
Ewan’s job ranges from personal care for patients who are unable to do their own, to blood draws, echocardiograms, blood sugar monitoring and blood pressure observations. He states he has had interesting experiences on some of the mental health wards and received some really thorough but positive training from it. He added: “It has been a distinct change in role personally but I really enjoy it and much prefer it. I’ve been on various types of wards, spent a lot of time during the heavier weeks of the pandemic in HBCCC.
“I’ve lost a fair few patients and had some of my tougher experiences in that environment. A lot of these patients were already chronically ill, and at one point the ward had about ten Covid-19 cases, which was 33 per cent of all patients. We’ve unfortunately lost a few but have had a few real miracle stories too.”
Ewan says matters have progressed really well over the last six weeks with the service getting back to what is being described as the “new normal” whilst the volume of Covid cases have been going down. Testing is still taking place and the ward is definitely erring on the side of caution with patients who have symptoms. He said: “Personally I’ve been really enjoying the experience. Clinical time with the patients has been the best experience. It’s a shame to come into such a role through the darkest of circumstances but I’m relishing the positives.”