COLORADO SPRINGS — Our health care heroes are working long hours throughout this pandemic, while wearing personal protective equipment which is essential. However, face masks can lead to pressure injuries when worn for a while, which is why many nurses at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central are taking time out of their days to help ease the pain.
Wearing a face mask for long hours can have physical consequences, especially with N95 masks which fit very tightly to the face. "About 13 hours a day we're wearing our masks... The loop of the mask goes behind your ears, and it's a very delicate area with very little tissue, and the longer it stays on the easier a skin break down can happen... I myself have experienced pain behind my ears after wearing it for a full day, and even some bruising," said UCHealth Nurse, Trisha Senrick.
Nurses at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central are crafting "hero headbands," which have two buttons right above the ears. These headbands can be worn with a face mask, and the mask's loops go around the buttons instead of the ears. "We felt the best thing we could do to try and help them was to try and alleviate some literal pressure, which is the pressure behind their ears. And so, we started making headbands during our lunch," said Nurse Manager Kimberly Sperry.
The headbands make a difference when wearing a face mask, according to the nurses. "I started wearing a headband probably about three days ago and it's made a big difference," said Senrick, who also helped make the headbands.
The headbands are then put into goody bags, and delivered to ICU staff. The goody bags also contain a note on a pack of Extra Gum which says: "Critical care team: The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just a little extra. We see the extra you are putting in at the bedside to our sickest patients. Thank you very much, the Acute Care Division."
It's more than just helping on the physical level, as the support for one another also reinforces the bond shared by the nurses. "As nurses, one of the things that I think is so awesome is it doesn't matter what kind of nurse you are, you're always trying to help. And we're in a helping field, so we're doing our best to help each other and support each other," said Sperry.
They have made 75 headbands so far, and their goal is to give out 150.
All footage and interviews have been gathered by UCHealth, because visitor restrictions are still in place.