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Hospital workers starting to feel impact of patient increase

Indiana hospital workers seeing spike in patients
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Posted at 8:16 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 11:41:05-05

Note: Some video depicted in this story was shot pre-pandemic so healthcare workers may not be masked. All hospitals now require workers to be wearing proper PPE while in facilities and working with patients.

INDIANAPOLIS — Two weeks ago, Franciscan Health Indianapolis was averaging between 22 and 27 COVID-19 patients a day. This week, the hospital is averaging 45 patients a day.

“Everybody has really stepped up and picked up extra shifts,” said Nik Clark, R.N. in Franciscan Health’s Adult Intensive Care Unit.

Clark typically sees patients once they are at their tipping point in treatment, “a lot of times when they come to us it’s when they need to be intubated or they need more advanced therapies that the other floors can’t offer,” said Clark.

Along with checking on patients, administering medications and treatments he and other nurses are also now tasked with keeping families updated.

"Since family members aren't able to come in right now. A lot of our day is also talking to family since a lot of our patients are on the ventilators and can't talk to them so they really rely on us to give them updates,” said Clark.

Right now there are 10 COVID-19 patients in Franciscan Health’s 30 bed ICU, but other areas of the hospital are getting close to capacity.

“On our other floors they are starting to fill up pretty quick,” said Clark.

“Some days it is very emotional. It’s so hard because all these patient families are not able to see them,” said Sheila Asadi who works as a respiratory therapist at the hospital.

Asadi works directly with COVID patients on breathing exercises to improve their lung function, her goal is to prevent them from reaching the point where they would need to be intubated.

Asadi is concerned about the new surge in patients but she feels much more prepared this time around.

“At first we didn’t have much information but I feel like at least we are now more confident in how to take care of all of these people,” said Asadi.

These two front line workers say right now it is absolutely vital that people continue to wear masks and practice social distancing so that their hospital and others do not get overwhelmed by patients.

"You might not feel affected personally but there's others loved ones who might be affected by not wearing a mask. Us at the hospital we kind of get the bud end of that,” said Clark.