Improvements could be made to hospital’s intensive care


Hospital patients could soon be getting a better experience staying in intensive care.

Doctors and nurses from across the country gathered in Milton Keynes to find out more about how to offer support to those staying there.

Former intensive care patients at Milton Keynes Hospital are fortunate to be able to benefit from ICU Steps, one of the country’s few groups to provide guidance and support to these patients and their families. The group hosted a conference, which featured experiences from former intensive care patients and their families, as well as advice for other groups to get up and running. The theme of the conference was partnership between medical professionals and patients and their families.

After they leave intensive care, patients can suffer a range of physical symptoms like muscle wastage and change in taste. They may also experience psychological side effects such as anxiety, depression, nightmares, short-term memory problems and hallucinations.

This can make it difficult for former patients to get back to normal life, even once they have recovered from their illness.

Mo Peskett, Senior Sister at the hospital’s Department of Critical Care, said: “Recovery from critical illness does not stop when the patient is discharged from hospital. Patients will often not understand how they came to be in intensive care, or what happened during that time. Once they have recovered physically, we invite them into the ward to help them get a sense of what treatment they received and why, which can form a vital part of their psychological recovery.

“Many of the people who come to our drop-ins share their sense of relief when they realise their symptoms are normal. There is a real need for all patients who have had a critical illness to be able to access this service. I am pleased that the conference was a real success, with intensive care clinicians from other hospitals leaving full of inspiration for setting up a similar groups in their areas.”