Respiratory therapists across the country are playing a vital role in helping patients fight and recover from COVID-19. Bayhealth Hospital Sussex Campus Respiratory Therapist Andrea Weimer is trained to care for people with acute pulmonary (lung) conditions. Relatively new to her position, Weimer describes it as the coolest job ever, and her passion is shining through during this crisis.
Weimer arrived at Bayhealth in July 2018 after graduating from Delaware Technical Community College, but she never imagined she would be treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said her work days have changed greatly in the last six weeks. “We’re taking care of more critical patients, so we’re using more intensive modes of ventilation. The patients we are seeing are very sick,” she said.
Because COVID-19 is a virus that affects the respiratory system, respiratory therapists are a vital part of the frontline patient care team. They work alongside the nurses and doctors to care for patients from the time they enter the hospital to their discharge.
Because the patients are so sick, Weimer said, they require constant monitoring. “We do what we call proning. The patients have to be turned onto their bellies in bed, and every four hours their heads have to be turned. While the patients are intubated, we give them various inhaled medications which help their lungs recover. Because of the disease process, it takes a while for them to get back to normal,” she said.
In spite of the long workdays, she has nothing but praise for her co-workers: “I have to thank our respiratory team. We’ve really learned to work together; it’s great to have a team like this.”
To be pre-screened for COVID-19 by the Coronavirus Management Team, call 302-310-8477 or email Coronavirus@Bayhealth.org.