Rehab team takes centre stage

From helping to compile patient journals to getting people physically back on their feet again – this National ICU Rehabilitation Day provides an opportunity to showcase the life-changing work of a Walsall team.

Walsall Healthcare’s Critical Care Rehabilitation Team supports Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients following a period of critical illness and this includes COVID-19 survivors, those who have had surgery, and those who have been through major trauma.

The team is there to provide physical and psychological support to adults of all ages and works with hundreds of patents, and their families, every year and is made up of .

Xana Marriott, Senior Sister for Critical Care Rehabilitation, said: “Recovery from a critical illness is a huge milestone in itself but we always remind ourselves that there is more to life than survival.  The after effects of critical illness can be difficult to come to terms with.

“Some patients will not remember a single thing about their time in ICU which can be comforting to some but challenging for others. Many have questions about what they actually went through and the treatment they were given as they try to process that period in their lives. Others can experience extreme fatigue, weakness, depression, hallucinations, insomnia, nightmares, chronic pain and sometimes survivors’ guilt.

“Many patients feel they have been given another chance at life, but others will mourn the time they lost. Everyone’s experience is unique to them and the team works with Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Dietitians to ensure a multi-disciplinary approach to getting patients back to the life they tell us is important to them, whatever that may look like.”

Derek Parker-Jones, aged 60, is currently being supported by the team after surviving COVID-19 which saw him spend a total of four months in hospital – in London and in Walsall due to the availability of intensive care beds during the pandemic.

He said: “I think the rehab is important for your families and loved ones too. I can’t remember anything about my time in hospital but it must have been hell for my wife.

“I have needed support physically and mentally and have attended the group that meets every few months to listen to other people’s experiences and share my own thoughts too. The help and support I’ve had has been so good and I’ve been able to ride my motorbike again which matters to me.”

The team has run patient forums for feedback to enhance or improve the service and regular “Meet and mingle” sessions for patients and families to get together face to face.

She said: “We’re proud of what we’re doing with our patients in Walsall and National ICU Rehabilitation Day is a chance to raise awareness and showcase our successes. Look out for us on Walsall Healthcare’s social media today as we share some of the highlights from the team.”


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