Across the state, our health care heroes are working diligently to provide the best care possible to some of the sickest patients.
Hannah Hast normally works as an inpatient physical therapist with Elliot Rehab Services. While she typically sees patients in all units, recently she offered to redeploy full-time to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) due to increasing numbers of patients needing this high level of care. “Our rehab department rotated one inpatient physical therapist each week through the month of January to help our colleagues in the ICU,” Hast explains.
That inpatient physical therapist allows for an extra set of helping hands to nursing staff within the ICU, but they also are seeing patients that have been consulted to PT as well.
During her redeployment, Hast assisted nurses and nursing assistants with any tasks needed. Her role was focused specifically on mobility. She helped turn patients and performed range of motion on patients who were intubated and sedated and/or were unable to move their arms and legs on their own.
“Since last March, this entire experience has been overwhelming, especially as a relatively new graduate. Everyone in the ICU during the week I was there was so appreciative and willing to help me, help them. I mostly feel empowered that we are all coming together to help our patients. I have worked with COVID-19 patients in the ICU as well as on other floors, so it is very special to me to be able to be helping these patients in this vulnerable time and do what I can to prepare them for the road to recovery that therapy will be an integral part of.”
Hast says she does worry about her own health, but that has not stopped her from doing her part. “Our training and supplies of PPE have been strong so I feel confident me, my patients, and my friends and family at home are all safe. When it does get scary and overwhelming, I like to take a moment and think about how my patients are also worried, scared, overwhelmed, and so on in an unfamiliar place with a lot of unfamiliar faces of which they can’t see much of because of our PPE. That helps remind me of the bigger purpose and motivates me to keep going,” she says. “To protect myself and my family, I don’t leave the hospital in the scrubs that I wear. I change into street clothing, put my scrubs into a trash bag, and then they go directly into my laundry.”
Hast adds, “I have felt extremely supported by Elliot staff and administration; especially my rehab colleagues. I am so proud to tell people that I am an employee at The Elliot. I have been working as a physical therapist for a little over a year and a half and I will never forget the teamwork and empathy that each and every one has shown for so long now.”