A WOMAN who took on a role to help families struggling at Bronglais Hospital during the pandemic has said it has “changed her life”.
Fiona Reynolds joined Dyfi Ward, at Bronglais General Hospital in Aberystwyth, as a Family Liaison Officer in April 2021, having made a ‘big change’ – ending a long term relationship, moving house and leaving her former job in hospitality.
“It’s honestly changed my life,” she said.
“I’ve had so many people holding my hand and even crying, and saying that they’ll never, ever forget my kindness and what a huge difference I have made. “I’ve never experienced that before. It’s overwhelming.
“I remember building a very good relationship with an elderly lady who was suffering from extreme confusion.
“We put a diary together and I helped to manage her calendar so that she could remember what day it was, and that really helped her as a person.
“And when I escorted her to her care home, she said how glad she was and that she would have been very frightened without me.
“Joining a hospital in the middle of a pandemic was strange, because there are no visitors and patients can get very down.
“They get lonely, and that’s really difficult for a lot of them.
“So just being able to sit and talk with them, and to hear their stories, is brilliant. It’s an honour.”
Hywel Dda said that pandemic “has opened eyes to a career in healthcare that people had not anticipated in previous life.”
For staff on the frontline, who continue to deal daily with the effects of Covid-19, both directly and indirectly, the last two years have been a ‘high octane, emotional rollercoaster,’ according to Dr Manon Griffiths, a Clinical Psychologist supporting staff on Hywel Dda’s four Intensive Care Units (ICUs).
“Being able to share in their patients’ journeys, and to celebrate successful outcomes, has been a key part of their ability to process these emotions,” she said, “as has the importance of providing a dignified and supportive environment when patients are dying.”
“You know what it feels like when you listen to the staff? Some of them talk about the validation, really, of the hard work they put in when they’re seeing patients,” she added.
“The gratitude and the thanks.
“And from my point of view, the one thing I really want to work on and get back into the system is that we need to learn to celebrate our successes so much more, because that’s what reminds us that what we do matters, and that how much we care has an impact on the patients’ experience and their journey through the hospital.
“Even when we’ve lost patients, we’ve had families that have just been so grateful for providing such a dignified and supportive environment for their relative.”
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