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Healthcare Heroes: Foam Lake nurse practitioner reflects on changes with more virtual care

Click to play video: 'Healthcare Heroes: Foam Lake nurse practitioner reflects on changes with more virtual care' Healthcare Heroes: Foam Lake nurse practitioner reflects on changes with more virtual care
WATCH: Healthcare workers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic for about 10 months, forcing clinics to change how they see patients – Feb 3, 2021

For nurse practitioner Cassandra Leggott, a lot has changed with how her clinic in Foam Lake, Sask., treats patients amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

More than six feet often separates her from people seeking care; while still open to the public, her clinic, like many across the province, is providing care virtually.

“We do a lot of our assessments just by looking at people, so that’s taken that away from us,” Leggott said.

Read more: Healthcare Heroes: Saskatoon ICU nurse reflects on COVID-19

“Something as common as, you have an earache. Normally we’re going to look at your ear … your throat, we might listen to your lungs. Over the phone, we’re not really able to do any of that.”

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She said healthcare providers have had to adapt to this new way of giving care.

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While some patients can take longer trying to communicate what’s wrong over the phone, others, such as people coming in for prescription refills, can be finished quickly.

She said one big thing for health care providers has been asking more in-depth questions over the phone.

Read more: Abuse, understaffing hampering contact tracing in Saskatchewan: nurses’ union

“(We’re asking the patient) to try to explain what’s going on or even asking them, ‘If you push here does it hurt?’ or ‘Can you describe if the rash looks like this?’”

Leggott stresses the importance of following public health orders as they come out. She said this is a new virus, and with limited knowledge, health guidelines will change to reflect that.

“We need everybody to abide by the guidelines set out by public health officials for us to be able to control our rates of infection being spread,” she said.

She said she wants people to remember health services such as walk-in clinics are still open, even if they are operating a little differently.

Watch the video above to learn about Leggott’s experience in her own words.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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