A team of critical care nurses from Wrexham Maelor Hospital are providing extra support for patients leaving hospital after recovering from COVID-19.
The Critical Care Follow Up Team work full time on the Critical Care Unit and offer a follow up service to provide further physical, psychological and emotional support once patients leave hospital.
Prior to the pandemic the team would hold weekly clinics for former patients and bereaved relatives who are coming to terms with the often life changing long term physical and psychological impacts which can follow a critical illness.
One former patient who has received follow up care from the team is Wendy Allison, from Connah’s Quay, who was hospitalised for almost 10 weeks after contracting COVID-19.
She said: “At the start of April I started to feel quite unwell, I was extremely breathless and my husband ended up calling an ambulance.
“When I arrived in hospital it was clear I was very sick and I was taken to the Critical Care Unit where I was put on a ventilator and stayed on the unit for six weeks.
“I don’t remember much during my time there until I eventually came off the ventilator and started to get better, it was a really scary time for me and my family.”
Wendy left hospital on 27 June and around four weeks later she received a visit at her home from the Critical Care Unit’s Senior Sister Sarah Anglesea and Senior Staff Nurse Kate Sinclair, who both cared for her during her time on the unit.
Sister Sarah said: “Following a period of critical illness it is common to experience some psychological problems, such as nightmares, flash backs, or some strange memories.
“Some patients have no recollection of their stay in critical care. Often these psychological problems can be very frightening and intrusive.
“The Critical Care Follow-up Team contacts our patients once they leave hospital to arrange an appointment with them if needed.
“We can see if they need any further psychological or emotional support and answer any questions around the time in Critical Care that they may not remember.”
The team have also been providing support to families who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19 during the last few months. Memory boxes are provided to those families to help bring them comfort.
“It has been an incredibly difficult time for families who have had loved ones in the Critical Care Unit over the last few months.
“As visiting into the hospital is restricted, we as nurses have done the best we can to ensure we have kept in close contact with families with loved ones on our unit.
“We end up building a rapport with our patients as they are usually with us for a long period of time so we feel we get to know them quite well.
“Seeing Wendy at home makes us feel proud and it’s lovely to see how well she’s doing and on the road to recovery,” added Kate.
Wendy wishes to thank the teams at Wrexham Maelor Hospital for the care and support she has received.
“The staff were really amazing during my time in hospital, they were so kind and did everything they could for me and kept in touch with my family to update them on my condition.
“I think the follow up service they provide is also excellent and really beneficial for someone like myself who can’t remember six weeks of my time on Critical Care.
“Having the nurse’s visit me at home to see if I’m ok provides me with reassurance and a chance to ask any questions.
“They really have been fantastic, I can’t thank them enough,” added Wendy.