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Developing and setting up a patient and relatives intensive care support group

Maureen Peskett and Peter Gibb

British Association of Critical Care Nurses

Medical Journal

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Nurses and/or Other Critical Care Medical Professionals

No

Aim:The purpose of this article was to highlight the need to provide support for patients and relatives following critical illness and discharge from hospital and how this can be improved through the establishment of user support groups.
Background:Critical illness predisposes patients to extended physical and psychological ill health with the potential for a reduced quality of life. The authors’ personal experience, patient feedback and current literature suggested that there was a need for further support during their recovery.
Methods:Building on an existing formal follow-up service, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Support Team for Ex-Patients established a patient-centred forum, where patients and relatives could share experiences with others who had also been through critical illness by holding drop-in sessions. Feedback from those attending these flexible and informal sessions indicates that support was needed and that patients and families have found benefit in sharing experiences with others who can empathise, having been through critical illness themselves.
Conclusions:Our experience has shown there is a need that can be met simply with minimal investment of time and funding but that addresses a gap in patient support that otherwise goes unmet. Although this was a service development in one local area, it could be adapted to ICU patients and relatives more widely

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