New clinics helping critical care patients cope with recovery

A NEW service for patients who have been critically ill and need help in their recovery has been launched.

The rehab service is for patients who have been treated in the critical care unit at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

A clinic, run every month in main outpatients at the University Hospital of North Tees, includes a intensive care consultant,  a specialist nurse and physiotherapist.

Consultant anaesthetist Tara Mane, who leads the service, said: “Many patients who have been cared for in critical care, experience considerable problems with physical, psychological and social function after discharge from critical care.

“These are people who have been extremely ill and on a ventilator for several days.

“In many cases, these people have little or no recollection of the time they spent in critical care. This can span a significant amount of time – days or even weeks.

“We are here to offer support and advice to patients as they continue their recovery. The service helps these patients understand why they got to the intensive care unit and more information about the treatment they had. We assess them for the need of physiotherapy, psychological counselling, dietary advice or for on-going health issue. We also signpost them to various other support groups.

“There is a real need for this service and it’s fantastic to be able to offer it to our patients.”

Sue Williams, 53, had a cardiac arrest on Mother’s Day while at home in Hartburn.

Her son Jamie was home at the time and was able to call for an ambulance and to perform CPR for a prolonged period of time.

She said: “My son saved my life – what he did was amazing.

“I was then taken to intensive care at North Tees hospital where I was on a ventilator for 10 days and was also had kidney failure.

“Afterwards, I was very confused – I didn’t really know what was going on. I have been fitted with a defibrillator.

“It was only a few months later that I started thinking more about what had happened to me.

“These clinics have been amazing. Even just being able to meet the doctor and nurses who treated me to discuss what happened. It’s meant I can understand more and explain everything to my friends and family.

“I have been on the cardiac rehab course, I now also go to the gym and cycle and swim. Getting myself fitter and healthier is the best way of preventing any further issues.”

Janette Waugh, 52, who has rheumatoid arthritis, was also helped by her son after falling ill at her home in Hartlepool in July.

Speaking at her first visit to the clinic, she said: “My youngest son arrived at the house and said I was looking very confused.

“He rang an ambulance and I was rushed into critical care with sepsis. I was on a ventilator for six days.

“As a former nurse myself, I could understand what I’d been through but I wanted answers about exactly how it happened.

“When I received a letter about the programme I jumped at the chance. My first visit to the clinic has been very useful. I’m really interested in a lot of the help and support they can offer.”

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