WORCESTER Warriors Women captain Lyndsay O’Donnell is among those NHS frontline workers risking their own life to save and care for patients affected by the deadly disease.

An inspirational leader on the rugby field, the Stirling-born second-row is a chartered physiotherapist at Worcestershire Royal Hospital where she helps identify COVID-19 patients who need extra help breathing.

“I am currently working on a testing ward for COVID-19 patients, with those patients who are suspected of having the virus remaining on our ward until their swab results come back,” said the 26-year-old.

“My day begins with the nurses giving me information as to who needs physio for mobility, and who needs physio for their chest, including how much oxygen each patient is on.

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"From there, myself and the other physios will go around the ward to see our patients as we look to deliver rehabilitation techniques as well as maintaining their strength and function as well as completing chest physio where needed.

“A lot of people who come into hospital suspected of having Coronavirus are either de-conditioned or have lost significant strength and are not able to move as they normally would.

“We help with that and we help nurses to establish how to safely move patients, assessing whether they need walking aids and what equipment we might need in order to move them.

“We provide oxygen therapy, assisted coughs, manual techniques, suctioning, advise on positioning and we play a role in setting up the non-invasive ventilators.”

Working five days a week as well as some weekends, Lyndsay says it is a calling that she is more than happy to respond to despite the all too obvious risks posed the moment she steps foot on the ward.

She said: “When I was asked to work on the ward, my first reaction was to get stuck in. I love my job, I love what I do, and I love the effect that I can have in terms of optimising a patients’ quality of life.

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“I love helping people and along my path of becoming a physio, I’ve worked with some amazing people, who are so knowledgeable about their subject. I suppose that has given me the drive to want to learn more and hopefully one day I can become a specialist in a specific area – I’m only at the beginning of my career, so there is a lot to look forward to.

“Sometimes it is hard to always go into work and be positive, but you do get those patients that you are able to help and that makes everything worthwhile and helps your mentality towards it all.

“It’s important that we take the necessary precautions by wearing PPE and ensuring that we are vigilant in everything that we do. When we’re doing chest physio with any patient, we’re asking them to cough and complete aerosol generating procedures, so that increases our risk of contracting the virus.

“It also gets extremely hot with the full PPE on, but it’s doing a good job of protecting us. I’m really happy to be playing a part and hopefully we can keep patients as mobile and as active as possible.”