A YOUNG NHS professional has told how coronavirus has changed her working life but is looking forward to getting back to visiting her patients' homes in person again regularly.

Meredith Porter, 22, is a community occupational therapist working with stroke patients.

She works for Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust's based at its Blackburn site at Davyfield Mill in Eanam.

Miss Porter said: "I’m looking forward to seeing patients again.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the way in which our service is provided has significantly changed. We used to go into people’s homes on a daily basis, into rehab units, into hospitals. This has significantly changed because we want to keep people as safe as possible.

"We’ve had to utilise a lot of alternative methods of communication, so using Microsoft Teams, a programme called Attend Anywhere, Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime to do assessments we would have usually done face to face. It's incredibly important patients can get access to those kind of things. If not, we do have to go face to face still to provide that intervention and assessment.

"So it makes our role a lot more difficult and challenging. We want to go and see our patients face to face every day if we can. It creates a bit of a barrier to building trust with people when we do things over the phone, over Facetime calls or video assessments.

"Despite the way that we have had to change our work in the restrictions we have been faced with, I’m extremely proud of the way we have adapted to still provide the highest quality care we can and deliver outstanding quality to our patients.

"We still prescribe equipment the same as we did before the Covid pandemic. We have to do full PPE before going into patients’ houses, making sure that we keep a safe distance wherever we can, but these people still need specialist equipment.

"I’m looking forward to helping people to get back to doing their occupations, to getting back out there and doing everything they enjoy that they may not have been able to during the pandemic."