Elaine Melia’s job as an assistant practitioner with the High Weald Lewes Havens Community Respiratory Service has been altered considerably by COVID-19.
“The biggest challenges of the past 12 months were changing how we are seeing and reviewing our patients,” explains the clinician, who has worked for the Trust for two-and-a-half years.
“We have had to move the majority to telephone consultations and video calls instead of running in-person clinics. This is to keep any face-to-face contact to a minimum to protect our patients and us.
“This has allowed me and the other clinicians to do more assessments as we are not travelling nearly as much. However, the biggest challenge I have found is not being able to see my patients in person as a lot of them live on their own and look forward to the company.”
Elaine says her job is now “a lot more admin-heavy” and describes how, during the first lockdown, she would audit the oxygen service and update information missing from patients’ notes.
She copes by keeping in regular contact with her family and friends in Ireland, and by going for runs after work.
And since January, on her days off and at weekends, Elaine has also worked as a COVID-19 vaccine immuniser at the Eastbourne vaccination centre.
I feel like this is the light at the end of the tunnel, and the more people I can help vaccinate, the sooner I can go home and see my family. That is my biggest motivation,” she says.