Staff on the intensive care unit at King’s Mill Hospital have been recognised nationally for their innovations in treating patients with life threatening conditions.
Only a few Trusts in the country to provide full rehabilitation care to patients with critical illness, Critical Care Nurse Consultant Michele Platt and Clinical Educator Mandy Coggon were invited to showcase the team’s work to other healthcare Trusts at a national study day in Birmingham.
Innovations and improvements the unit has made to aid rehabilitation include providing a series of information booklets to inform the patient and their family of the changes to expect during recovery, encouragement to family and friends to write a diary for the patient about their stay, and support when they are transferred to a normal ward.
Senior physiotherapist Michele Platt said: “Time spent in the high-tech environment of an intensive care unit can be stressful to patients and their families, and the patient often does not remember large parts of their stay, which is where the diary comes in to help them ‘fill in the gaps’ about missing time.
“Some patients have nightmares and flashbacks, feel low in mood, have changes in their appetite and activity levels or have aches and pains that they never had before. The booklets help patients to realise that these things are normal after critical illness and encourage patients and families to talk about these experiences together.
“Time spent in the high-tech environment of an intensive care unit can be stressful to patients and their families, and the patient often does not remember large parts of their stay.
“During their stay on intensive care all our patients have their own nurse to look after only them. When patients recover and go back to a ‘normal’ ward the patient can feel stressed as care is not as intense, so the unit’s Critical Care Outreach Team visit them to make sure everything is going as well as expected.”
The Critical Care Outreach Team also provide a unique follow up service for patients who are rehabilitating after an episode of intensive care.
Two to three months after the patient has left intensive care, the patient is invited back to a critical care follow-up clinic as part of their ongoing rehabilitation.
Patients are able to ask questions and get further assistance with physical and psychological issues.
Michele added: “We are incredibly proud of the work we do in our intensive care unit and were honoured to be given the opportunity to share our innovations with other Trusts nationally.
“We pride ourselves in putting the patient first and making sure their journey of care is a positive one.”