As of September 2, we are marking six months of Kootenai Health’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
This year has been incredibly challenging. We want to take a moment and want to thank every single employee for their commitment and dedication to our patients, our organization and our community.
To our incredible caregivers and support staff – we cannot fully express our gratitude for your continued heroism.
To help our community see what work is like during the COVID-19 pandemic we took photographs of our dedicated PPE isolation unit and created this video of thanks to showcase our amazing employees.
This was an important project to capture and record an important part of our history and provide an opportunity for our caregivers to be seen and recognized for their hard work, professionalism and sacrifice.
What Does it Mean to Be a Hero? – Video
1 – A Kootenai Health nurse gets medications from the med room on 3 East, the unit designated for patients positive for SARS-CoV-2.
2 – A pair of Kootenai Health nurses discuss their work on 3 East. One of the nurses is wearing a Controlled Air-Purifying Respirator or CAPR helmet which delivers positive outflow of air at all times. Different staff use different equipment based on need, availability and fit.
3 – A waiting area on 3 East was repurposed to house N-95 respirators fresh from the sterilizer. After masks have been sterilized they are carefully placed in paper sacks with names hand-written on the outside, awaiting the next shift.
4 – One of our Critical Care nurses studies patient information at a nurse’s station.
5 – A Kootenai Health nurse helps her patient put on his mask in his room to help prevent transmission of virus particles.
6 and 7 – She charts at the computer while caring for her patient. As part of her personal protective equipment she is wearing eye protection, an N-95 respirator, gown and gloves. While on the unit, she will wear her gown, mask and eye protection continuously. She changes her gloves with each patient encounter.
8 – When the photos were taken, our patient had been on the unit close to 30 days. The first five days he required critical-level care. He mentioned that his former nurses on the unit would come and check on him, even if he’s not their patient for the day. He appreciated this extra kindness, especially on the isolation unit.
9 – 11 – It was important to show our nurses in their role and honor their professionalism and sacrifice.
12 – The 3 East charge nurse cleans a face shield with special disinfecting wipes.
13 – After patients discharge home the vacated rooms are intensely cleaned and disinfected before another patient can be admitted. One of our housekeepers mops the floor as part of this “terminal cleaning” process that takes close to an hour to complete.
14 – 15– A nurse carefully removes her N-95 respirator within the doffing area (special area for removing PPE safely). There is a specific order in which all equipment is removed and then discarded or cleaned.
16 – The 3 East unit was transitioned into an isolation unit on July 30. This means staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE) continuously while on the unit. Wearing PPE for an extended time may cause skin break down.
17 – Equipment that may be urgently needed lines the hall outside the additional rooms converted to provide critical-level care.
18 – One of our Critical Care nurses in her protective equipment. While on the isolation unit the nursing staff will deliver food and help clean rooms to prevent unnecessary travel from other departments.
19 – While on the unit staff use continuous PPE, meaning they need to doff (remove) all PPE before taking breaks for food and water.
20 – Before using an N-95 respirator, employees must be specially fit-tested to ensure proper protection.