COVID-19 poses several challenges in caring for our older adults. As we know, our elderly tend to have more adverse outcomes if they develop COVID-19. As such, many are seeking alternative platforms for care or are not receiving their routine care for chronic conditions.
Though Debra Whiteheart, MHS, PA-C, can feel tired and overwhelmed at times and admits to sometimes losing her patience with family, she understand the importance of being a calm and consistent presence for her patients right now.
As a clinical leader, husband, father and friend, John Ragsdale, M.D., carries many burdens. “I’m worried about people’s paychecks. I’m worried about the health of the practice. I’m worried about getting sick,” Ragsdale says. “I think like a lot of us, I have good days and I have bad days. I have days where I am tired for no reason and don’t get much done. And I have days where I feel like … I generally get a lot done.”
Nicole Yeates, RN, has lived in North Carolina less than a year, and says her colleagues at Duke Family Medicine Center have now become her family. “I have felt … supported and proud of what we are doing, and of everyone who’s involved,” she says. Yeates has been one of three nurses at Duke Family Medicine Center who have been at the center of the clinic’s COVID-19 response from the beginning.
Megan Arguello, RN, has a routine when she returns home from 12-hour shifts of swabbing potential COVID-19 patients and training others to swab and properly don and doff PPE. “When I get home, I strip in the garage and I go straight to a private shower that is next to the garage,” Arguello says. “The kids don’t use that bathroom; that is my shower. … All my laundry goes straight into the wash. I don’t see my kids – even my dog – until I’m clean.”
Second-year family medicine resident Clay Cooper, M.D., MBA, was in Colorado the week of March 9, preparing to begin a two-week practice management elective at University of Colorado, just as the nation’s COVID-19 outbreak was beginning to spread. “[That] Wednesday I confirmed with leadership at Duke and University of Colorado that it was still fine of me to come, and it was,” Cooper says.
Two weekends ago, Debra Whiteheart, MHS, PA-C, went for a walk around a lake with her 11-month-old puppy, played catch with him, and relished the time outdoors. “By the end of the week, I am extremely exhausted—mentally, physically, emotionally, everything,” she says.
John Ragsdale, M.D., felt the weight of the previous weeks as he walked in the woods with his wife Luna Ragsdale, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at the Durham VA Medical Center. He was processing the pace at which his clinic ramped up for Duke’s COVID-19 response, the latest research on the novel coronavirus, what he and his wife were seeing in their respective patients, and various treatments and testing options.
Last Wednesday, Megan Arguello, RN, found herself in the same situation as the hundreds of patients she’d seen since March 12: she was swabbed to determine if she had COVID-19. It just happened that she was swabbed in the very drive-through testing site that she’d helped set up and work in for the past week at Duke Family Medicine Center.