They could have been at home, but they helped in the hospital… Thank you!

The past few weeks have brought many events related to the pandemic situation and the state of emergency that no one will ever forget. Whether the more serious ones, such as fear of the unknown and uncertainty about the future, or the others, such as the unavailability of material for sewing face masks, reconciling work duties and home teaching, or female worries about a hairstyle.

However, we would like one more important thing not to be forgotten, and that are the voluntary activities of dozens of staff and students when they could be at home with their families.

Triage (the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments by the severity of their condition or likelihood of recovery with and without treatment. This rations of patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately; influencing the order and priority of emergency treatment, emergency transport, or transport destination for the patient) had to be resolved during the first day of the emergency. “It was clear that research activities would be dampened by this situation and, for example, clinical trials were suddenly patient-free. That is why I offered the help of the research nurses of our center for triage, “said Libuše Martináková, head nurse of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC).

Due this activity, the concern for staffing and services on the COVID Triage teams fell on Libuše Martináková. And not only the nurses from the FNUSA-ICRC were present at the entrances, we also thank the nurses from the Department of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Department of Stomatology, the Department of Ophthalmology and Optometry, 2nd Department of Surgery and Occupational Medicine. “And we must not forget the other clinics that sent their nurses to the newly established COVID-isolation workplace,” Martináková emphasized.

Paramedics were called the front line during the pandemic, so – as long as we follow military terminology – security, the porters and receptionists were advance patrols. Our thanks also go to them, it was not an easy situation at all, which annoyed not only visitors, but also employees who could not enter the hospital premises in places previously commonly used. We believe that even at the cost of a little inconvenience, the restrictive measures were understood, and if a similar situation arises, it will all go even better.

Volunteers, especially students of medicine, also helped with security in the first phase, when more entrances were opened for staff. “It’s important to say that we learned everything literally on the go. None of us have been in this situation so far. We have encountered, for example, the problem of finding suitable changing rooms for nurses serving in triages, as well as separating clean and potentially contaminated places in these rooms. Thanks to the perfect cooperation with the Deputy Zvěřinová and Deputy Voráč teams, we were able to solve them quickly, “added Martináková.

During the emergency, the hospital responded to countless companies and people offering help. In addition to the financial and material, which was in charge of Michal Možíšek, we would highlight one phenomenon – face masks. “We received thousands of face masks, sometimes five, sometimes hundreds,” said Jana Jarešová, coordinator of the Kardiovize 2030 project and coordinator of the FNUSA-ICRC volunteer program. Of course, face masks could not be used by doctors during procedures, but they were a welcome help on the way to and from work or for other hospital staff. This is also confirmed by the numbers. “We handed out exactly 6,417 face masks to our employees, we sent hundreds more to institutions that also needed them, such as the Diocesan Charity in Brno and Olomouc, the Home for the Elderly in Kohoutovice, and we also sent some abroad,” added Jarešová.
A team of almost thirty volunteers from Masaryk University students were in charge of the physical distribution of all these donations. Another dozen students of the MU Faculty of Education helped with babysitting the hospital staff and were also available for administrative activities.

In just one weekend, a volunteer website was created, where all the important information appeared.

With thanks, we could go on. We firmly believe that this situation will not be repeated. However, if this happens, I dare to write that thanks to the experience we have already gained, but also thanks to dedication and enthusiasm, we will be able to go through it again.