Healthcare workers leaving home and family to continue fight against coronavirus

Healthcare workers leaving home and family to continue fight against coronavirus

ABC·2020-05-12 13:24

For medical professional Greg Granger, moving into a hotel to isolate from his family was one of his most difficult decisions.Key points:Coronavirus is forcing an increasing number of healthcare workers to move out of homeThe self-isolation protects their families, patients and co-workers from the risk of infectionCommunity organisations like Find A Bed and Adopt a Healthcare Worker are helping match people The single dad and head of pathology operations at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney is working around the clock at one of Australia's busiest hospitals because of COVID-19.Mr Granger's three-year-old daughter Peyton was looked after by family and in day care."It's not been easy but I do manage to get some facetime most nights, which is wonderful," he said."I made a very difficult decision to move out of home to be closer to the hospital."Like a growing number of health professionals, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, he decided to isolate from family to keep them and his co-workers safe.Coronavirus update: Follow all the latest news in our daily wrap'I pose a risk with my daughter'Greg Granger and his daughter Peyton facetime each otherMr Granger manages a large pathology unit, responsible for processing thousands of coronavirus test results gathered from St Vincent's Hospital and a drive-through clinic in Bondi."Our operations escalated from regular working hours through to a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation supporting the emergency department and the patients in our wards,'' he said."My decision to isolate was to ensure that this service to hospital was maintained."We need to ensure that there's continuity of service as we navigate this pandemic, this means that all of my 300 staff need to be safe and healthy."I pose a risk with my daughter, who is in day care, she has family looking after her."While in isolation, Mr Granger used video-chat technology to get his play-time fix, which included Peyton showing off her cubby house and drawing for him.What the experts are saying about coronavirus:Finding somewhere to stayGreg and Peyton Granger's pet dog Winter is now being looked after by a foster family through Adopt A Healthcare Worker.(Supplied: Greg Granger)There are some state government accommodation schemes for healthcare workers, and volunteer organisations such as Find A Bed and Adopt a Healthcare Worker are also stepping up.These groups are helping match up frontline medical professionals with members of the community offering to help with anything from accommodation, to grocery runs and, in Mr Granger's case, pet sitting.Through Adopt a Healthcare Worker, a family is providing a home away from home near St Vincent's Hospital for his furry friend, Winter.Coronavirus questions answeredBreaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC's Coronacast podcast.Read more"My dog, Winter, is staying with a foster care family,'' Mr Granger said."I'm unable to give her the attention that she needs and I found a family from the Adopt a Healthcare Worker website, I've been very lucky."President of the Australian and New Zealand intensive care society Dr Anthony Holley says many medical professionals have considered finding alternate temporary accommodation as a possibility to avoid infecting loved ones. He believes if the medical situation gets substantially worse, more frontline staff would look to do this. "At what point would you make that decision?,'' he said."I think it would largely be based on what sort of exposure you'd had, what numbers of patients you are treating, what events that you might have had that would perhaps generate an increased degree of concern."Find out moreLate last week, Mr Granger decided community transmission was low enough for him to return home after six weeks in a hotel.But he will be watching case numbers closely and if there is a significant increase, he will move out of home again.What the experts are saying about coronavirus:'I didn't want to be responsible for his death'Genevieve Hughes (left) wanted to help healthcare workers, so she opened her house to GP practice nurse Katie Cooper (right).(Supplied: Genevieve Hughes)One "adopter" who wanted to help out a frontline worker is Genevieve Hughes from Melbourne."As someone who is not a doctor, nurse or a paramedic or someone who could help a patient who might have coronavirus, there's not much I can do respond to someone who's unwell, I can't be helpful in that way,'' she says."But there are a huge number of people who will be under the pump and people who aren't doctors, nurses and paramedics can do things to help those people, like get some sleep."You might not have directly treated a patient but you would have indirectly helped someone who can then give themselves to treat patients."Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreakGenevieve opened up her house in Box Hill to GP practice nurse Katie Cooper, who needed to isolate from her immunocompromised partner."This morning I moved into a share house and said goodbye to my partner Ben, my dog Bessie and Ben's family,'' Katie said. "The absolute reason for me was that I didn't want to be responsible for his death that was the bottom line."I had to make the decision to not be a nurse and stay with him or be a nurse and remove myself."What you need to know about coronavirus:The Virus

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