Covid Messages from Russell

COVID Messages from Russell – 30 July

July 30, 2020

While today is another confronting day for Victoria with the latest case numbers, I am conscious that at the moment, every day is a very hard day for many of you as you play your part in providing or supporting best care as we respond to this pandemic.

I am acutely aware that many staff are experiencing a high level of loss and grief, liaising with families in distress, breaking bad news, having to make traumatic decisions. Being the ones to experience or witness these emotions each day is very difficult indeed. While you are likely to have significant experience in this regard, I know that this time, it is different; this time it is harder for many of you.

Thank you for every single thing you are doing to provide care, relieve suffering and to share the burden on behalf of patients and their families.

This is a time in history when your roles are among the most important of all and all of our thoughts and thanks are with each other and you.

In these times please remain focussed on the critical importance of correct use of the PPE including those techniques for removing PPE, often at times when you will be exhausted and sick of wearing it. Those moments matter – for your safety.

Now more than ever we also need to be looking out for each other. Let each other know if you are having a particularly bad day, if you are feeling particularly flat, or you have had a range of things happen all at once and it is getting you down. Believe me, we are all having some of these moments at different times and the best thing we can do is to be open about it and seek that mutual support and professional help if you need to. It is important to ask each other a simple question – Are you OK?

I want to extend a special message of deep gratitude from the Board of Western Health. Robyn Batten is the new Chair of the Board for Western Health. She has asked me to pass on her and the Boards appreciation:

“We do greatly appreciate the amazing commitment and capability you and the team are contributing, this really is a health crisis none of us have seen before.

“You and your team have our deep gratitude and support.  The people of the West are very fortunate to have you and the team giving your all for their health and safety.”

In the midst of all of this, Western Health’s efforts on various fronts continue to receive considerable positive media coverage and I have shared a link to one of these stories  in this message. It is a story from ABC TV news last night, which included reference to our homebirth program, – increasingly popular in this time of concern about visiting hospitals.

On ABC TV Ch 24 yesterday evening, Dr Forbes McGain was interviewed live for an extended discussion about the need to protect staff and the efforts which led to the development of the isolation hood. The device also featured in a page 4 story in The Australian yesterday and Prof Jason Monty, co-lead, from University of Melbourne, was also interviewed about it on 3AW.

Our Head of Infectious Diseases, Dr Marion Kainer will also be appearing on ABC TV Ch 24 at 3.20pm tomorrow Friday 31 July, joining a panel with the ABC commentator, Dr Norman Swan.

Keep up the amazing work and thank you for coming in every single day.

Stay safe, stay well