Nurses At St. Anne’s Hospital Help Post-Covid Patients Recover Lost Memories
Nurses from St. Anne’s University Hospital, in cooperation with the Faculty of Medicine at Masaryk University, are working to help patients suffering from post-covid syndrome, including loss of memory, depression, blackouts, and other conditions. Photo: Hana Žemlová and Pavla Ďásková. Credit: FNUSA.
Brno, Feb 6 (BD) – In many cases, the consequences of severe covid are not only physical; patients also experience psychological problems. These can be caused by a very long time spent in intensive care, which can lead to a loss of memory. For their study, two nurses from the Anesthesiology and Resuscitation Clinic (ARC) at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno collaborated with the Faculty of Medicine at Masaryk University to find effective methods of treatment.
“Patients have a lack of memories of the time they spent with us, they have frightening dreams, they experience homesickness, sometimes it leads to depression,” said Hana Žemlová, one of the nurses from ARC conducting the study. Therefore, to cheer them up and hasten their recovery, she offers them the opportunity to visit her workplace. “We show them the department or their original room and explain what happened to them during hospitalisation,” explained her colleague Pavla Ďásková. “We show them the devices and the different sounds they make, because even these little things can project into the patients’ dreams and cause or promote depression.”
The staff also try to reduce the consequences of post-covid syndrome while the patients are still in hospital. “We bring patients back to reality, telling them what day it is, even if they are in artificial sleep. We talk to them about their family, we say hello to them so that they know someone cares about them. We explain where they are, which clinic, which city, which hospital,” said Ďásková. After a long period of artificial sleep, many patients are agitated when they do not know where they are and what is happening.
The nurses also try to communicate with the family. “We encourage a patient’s relatives to send emails and photos, which we will read and show to them. Each patient has an information board where we can stick pictures of things they like or of their loved ones, so that when they wake up, they have familiar faces around them,” said Ďásková.
The idea of a study mapping the quality of life of patients after severe covid came at the very beginning of the pandemic. “At that time, the long-term consequences of the disease were not well known, and sometimes patients turned to us with problems, so we decided to start monitoring all of the recovered, and helping them seek professional help in case of further problems,” said Žemlová. The nurses are currently monitoring 91 patients, presenting interim results at professional conferences, and continuing to collect data. They said that after the current study, their aim is to move on to monitoring all the patients who have gone through their ward.