“At the start of the pandemic I was filled with such guilt. I am a physiotherapist, a job I am passionate about but as a high risk/shielding individual I couldn’t be redeployed to support acute services like many of my colleagues. I work in a pain management service working with individuals with complex long-term pain conditions as well as having a national clinical lead role. With out-patient services paused I was keen to look at how I could continue to work with individuals. Coaching people is an art form which aims to empower individuals to live as well as they can whilst managing a long-term pain condition. How was I going to do this when I wasn’t seeing them face to face?
I’ve realised meaningful conversations can arise in many ways and telephone and video consultation have allowed those connections to still happen, even during lockdown. Yes, we’ve had to think out the box about how people keep active and participate in meaningful activity in different ways, but above all individuals have known we are still here to support them with the challenges they experience every day, including isolation, fear, change to their function, emotional impact and not always being able to see their loved ones due to the persistent pain they live with daily.
Fast implementation of digital platforms has allowed me to support the sharing of online resources and the development of online toolkits to support people now and in the future. Connecting virtually with colleagues across Scotland has strengthened collaborative working, leading to improved options for the management of persistent pain and it has been a real opportunity to support each other, share practice and engage in positive change for the future of pain management services.
Days and weeks have vanished in busyness, nothing like the contributions many have made on the front line. I now recognise that I’m making a different but important contribution to supporting people during COVID and rather than guilt, I now feel proud and full hearted that the job I do, that I love, can make such a difference in these challenging times.”