What it’s Like Working in Infection Control During a Pandemic

Imagine starting a new role, which includes infection control and finding yourself in the midst of a pandemic – that’s exactly what happened to Meath Care Senior Clinician, Lisa Pham.

Lisa graduated from Edith Cowan University in 2014 with a degree in Health Science, Nursing and joined Osborne Park hospital as part of their graduate programme.

It was a great learning environment where she worked in various departments including rehabilitation, looking after those recovering from a stroke, general nursing and as a theatre nurse. Her work in these areas fostered a desire to work in aged care.

In 2016 Lisa joined Meath Care’s Dr Mary Surveyor Centre as a Registered Nurse, looking after those requiring residential care.

She thrived in the role and was promoted to Senior Clinician in early 2019. Part of her new role included infection control; monitoring infection control practises and performing analysis to ensure the correct protocols are in place and being met.

Lisa describes the start of the pandemic as being a time of fear, it was unprecedented with many unknowns and there were also concerns around a universal shortage in PPE.

“Ensuring an adequate supply of PPE was the priority and introducing stringent new procedures to protect our residents and staff was our focus”. “Thankfully, Meath Care received adequate PPE to meet our demand from the beginning.”

She told us the apprehension was felt across the entire community from residents and families to staff.

“There was a lot of concern at the beginning, we were trying to provide the best care for the residents who were frightened and missing their families, it was our job to reassure them and keep them safe”.

Lisa discussed the way everyone pulled together to handle the crisis.

“We managed the epidemic as a team; the clinicians, cleaners, domestic staff, management, residents and families all pulled together to get through it”.

She also talked about the deep level of care for our residents.

“It was wonderful to see the devotion from staff and all the extra work undertaken to care for our residents”.

Extra activities were arranged to ensure that residents were able to maintain some social contact and remain occupied. A focus on technology meant residents and families were able to maintain their communication.

“Our OT’s and OTA’s maintained communications with the families and provided extra activities. The nurses provided updates to reassure families and Skype and Facetime sessions were arranged.”

We asked Lisa if there were any positives to be taken from the pandemic.

“The most rewarding aspect was the fact that we were able to keep our residents safe with zero infection. It was also the gratitude we received from the families, the encouragement and compliments. To see our residents safe and happy is the greatest reward. The other positive is knowing we’ve helped our community in preventing the spread.”

Meath Care would like to thank our staff, residents and families for all the work and cooperation in what has been a challenging time for all.