Fascinating insight into the mortuary at Cardiff and Vale Health Board by Claire O'Brien FAAPT
A couple of weeks ago the Mortuary team at UHW were asked if someone would take part in an interview on camera that would go out as part of Cardiff and Vale Health Board’s YouTube channel championing various departments at my hospital and how they have dealt with the Coronavirus pandemic.
Having never been one to shy away from public speaking I said that I would take one for the team and do the interview! One of the questions I was asked was ‘how has my team coped throughout this pandemic.’ To be honest this was a tough one.
One of senior staff members actually caught the virus early on, thankfully he did not require hospital treatment and came back to work 3 weeks later even though I think it had shook him up a little.
We also have 2 trainee APT’s working with us, I think they at first were scared (as were we all to be honest) the amount of work we were being told that was heading our way was horrific, however the senior APT’s sat down with the trainees and explained how everything was going to work and what would be expected of them.
We also explained that we were pretty much all in the same boat as nothing like this has happened before (and hopefully never will again) and we would all muck in and deal with whatever challenges were thrown at us.
We have opened 2 new facilities to cope with the extra pressure and thankfully they seem to have helped greatly. I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team, we have always been a close knit team (there are only 7 of us) but the pandemic has brought us closer like a little family. So about a week into lockdown our hospital closed to visitors and that meant the Mortuary could no longer undertake viewings for family members.
We struggled with this as this is a service that we provide knowing it means a great deal to family members, this is where we demonstrated our care for the patient and their loved ones. Because of this we decided that we would like to do something for relatives to show that their loved ones were not alone, that they were cared for, respected and looked after in a dignified manner and they were more than a statistic to us.
So therefore we decided to create a small memorial which would remember each person that had sadly passed away since the start of the pandemic as we recognise every family would have been affected by the hospital policy whether it be that the patient had passed away from COVID-19 or not.
The memorial will have the initials (because of patient confidentiality) of every person that passed away and their date of death on little hearts so as to commemorate this person in a dignified way.
Claire O'Brien FAAPT
Anatomical Pathology Technologist