Meet Elaine. Elaine is a Community Psychiatric Nurse in our Rapid Intervention and Treatment Team, who up until 2020 was extremely fit and healthy.

In 2020 Elaine was hospitalised with Covid-19 and subsequently diagnosed with Post Covid Syndrome (now a recognised disability), at which point her health changed immensely and probably permanently.

Elaine now struggles with extreme fatigue and post viral malaise as well as aching joints.

Elaine credits her manager who planned her phased return to work.  But once her normal hours and duties resumed, it was apparent that she couldn’t perform as she had previously at work.

Elaine said:

“I couldn’t work as quickly and I couldn’t manage the same workload without being in pain and completely and utterly wiped out all the time. I felt like I was getting more and more behind with everything and I was not able to perform to the standard I was used to performing at. To the outside world I looked back to normal but, in reality I was a long way away from my old normal.”

Elaine spent her time out of work recovering and recuperating just so she could go back to work again to work her 8am-8pm shifts. If she made an attempt at ‘normal life’ activities outside of work this just added to the problem as she was even more debilitated. It became a vicious circle.

The Trust supported Elaine and implemented measures like Dragon software which enabled her to dictate rather than type and a flexible working pattern with a day a week home-based.

Elaine said:

“The changes have been a godsend. I feel supported and the reasonable adjustments work for me, my manager and my team. It’s allowed me to take ownership of the process.”

An estimated two million people in the UK are living with hidden disability Post Covid Syndrome, or Long Covid, with symptoms adversely affecting the day to day activities of 1.4 million people.

To find out more about UK Disability History Month click here