NHS staff helping hospital patients recover from critical illness have created an innovative new idea for the festive period – a special Christmas rehabilitation advent calendar.
The critical care team at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust came up with the idea to focus on both the physical and mental side of recovery.
Therapy and nursing staff came together to find a way to improve engagement levels from patients – encouraging people to be dedicated to every part of their recovery.
Rachel Dimmick, lead physiotherapist in the critical care unit at the University Hospital of North Tees, and staff nurse Megan Davis met to discuss the idea.
Rachel said: “We are both passionate about the rehabilitation of critically ill patients and wanted to create a way to improve engagement levels with rehab over the Christmas period.
“We wanted to do this while also making it fun, to help encourage people to try and work hard with the view where possible to get home for Christmas.
“We created the tasks in a calendar and a snappy slogan to go with each one – with a lot of help from other members of the teams, namely Helena Costello (physio) and Penny Thompson (nurse).
“All of the physios and the therapy team through December will be sporting elf ears and a badge, so people can recognise who they are and what they are there for – and can pretend to be asleep when they see us coming!”
Complications of critical care stay
The hospital’s critical care unit cares for people often with multi-organ dysfunction who need support from a ventilator.
Rachel added: “Research shows a stay in critical care can result in many complications such as delirium, muscle weakness, loss of energy, changes to mood and memory.
“A critical care patient will spend on average 20 hours a day in bed and face a long road to recovery through rehabilitation.
“We hope this calendar can go some way to helping patients during this challenging time.”