From Iceland — Huge Strain On Hospital Staff Due To Group Infection

Huge Strain On Hospital Staff Due To Group Infection

Published November 23, 2020

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The heads of the nursing departments at Landakot have spoken to Vísir about how hospital staff are coping with the group infection.

Helga Atladóttir, head of the nursing at the senior’s ward, and Þóra Gunnarsdóttir, head of geriatrics ward C, say that they have felt an enormous amount of grief over the last few weeks. “I felt paralysed. You get really sad that this really happened, in spite of everything you prepared to prevent it”, says Helga.

Þóra agrees, saying, “There’s a huge sense of responsibility that you feel, and a sadness that this happened.  What remains with me is that this came in quietly and people were in groups, without symptoms, not knowing that they had COVID-19. Neither patients nor staff.”

Helga also says that she feels a lot of responsibility. “We, as managers, are responsible for the job being done correctly, and we have professional ambitions so that everyone is doing their best. There is a pang of conscience even though we did everything in our power. It was an attack, and we were helpless.”

Lessons need to be learned

According to the hospital’s report, the cause of the group infection was inadequate facilities and staff moving between wards with equipment. Helga and Þóra say that they have reviewed several times whether or not they could have done things differently, but came to the conclusion that they did everything they felt was necessary and right for the patients to receive the appropriate services, and did the best they could, given the circumstances. “I believe we’ve been very careful” says Þóra, although the conditions they had to work in were very difficult.

The staff hope that lessons can be learned quickly from the outbreak, and that changes can be made to the hospital so that it is better equipped against such problems arising in the future.

The group infection, and the strain it has put on the staff and patients at Landakot, has led to the hospital offering therapy to those who are struggling. Guðný Valgeirsdóttir, director of Landspítali’s geriatric services says, “As can be understood, this has put a huge strain on staff at Landakot. It was a big shock to us and it hurts very much.” She continues: “We put in psychotherapy and psychological interviews for those who got sick, and also those who were there during the outbreak. It’s helped a lot.”

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