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A patient who recovered from being critically ill is wishing her nursing team good luck after they were shortlisted for a prestigious Nursing Times 2012 Award

08:00 17/09/2012

Left to right Caroline Hill and Amy KelseyA PATIENT who recovered from being critically ill is wishing her nursing team good luck after they were shortlisted for a prestigious Nursing Times 2012 Award.

Becki Bolger, aged 24 from Radford, Coventry is keeping her fingers crossed for Caroline Hill and Amy Kelsey, sisters on the Critical Care Unit at University Hospital in Coventry after their work was nominated for the Emergency and Critical Care category in this year’s national Nursing Times awards.

The critical care nurses use patient diaries to document what happens to those extremely sick patients who often remember little of their care. This is usually due to sedation whilst receiving medical ventilation in the earlier stages of their admission.

The diary does not have to contain medical facts or diagnoses of a patient’s condition. Rather, it usually holds observations about the patient’s appearance, photographs of the patient’s family and friends, and other updates and comments from nurses, other staff and relatives. It may also include information about events at home, relatives’ visits to the Critical Care Unit and family milestones.

This is then used to help the patient understand what happened to them in Critical Care as they recover.

Becki BolgerBecki was one of these patients. When she was 23 years old she spent 117 days in critical care after suddenly developing a serious viral infection Guillain-Barre syndrome on a night out in London in October 2010.

Two years on she is back at work in HR at Coventry City Council and planning to get married in 2015.

She said: “I’m grateful for the care I got which helped me recover, but I wasn’t really aware of what was happening for a lot of it. I remember bits of what happened but that was more towards the end because I was so sedated.

“The diary was kept by my mum and it was great because it filled in the gaps of the four months I had lost. I did read the diaries when I first came out of critical care but it was still a bit raw. My family were a massive support, both when I was in critical care and when I came home.

“Amy and Caroline and the whole team have been really good with the aftercare and I can’t fault them. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them for this award because I am so thankful for my life today and I know I owe it all to my amazing care.”

Caroline Hill, Critical Care sister and project lead, said: “Before our focus was just on the physical care – when a patient was better physically then our job was done.

“However we were finding in follow up clinics that although people were well enough to return home, many of them had psychological issues which had not been addressed.

“For example, although they cannot remember most of what happened in Critical Care, what they do remember is often disjointed and can include delusional memories which can leave patients feeling vulnerable and even scared.”

Amy Kelsey, specialist sister in Critical Care, said: “This demonstrates how treating people as individuals can improve the delivery of care and aid the patients’ journey to recovery.

“We know that showing patients the diaries and discussing them in the follow-up clinics allows them to voice any concerns or worries they have, or even just piece together what happened to them when they can only remember certain memories.”

Mark Radford, Chief Nursing Officer, said: “I am delighted this team has been shortlisted and their outstanding work recognized nationally.

“This work shows how simple measures can improve the health and well being of some of our most critically ill patients.”

Amy and Caroline will present to a panel in London on September 14 and then winners will be announced on October 31, 2012.


Picture caption:

Top (L-R): Caroline Hill, Amy Kelsey
Bottom: Becki Bolger

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