Hospital Support

Hi there,

I am currently about to start volunteering within my local intensive care unit. As someone who was in and out of intensive care for 7 months i want to get as much support for those in and out of intensive care as possible, so i was wondering if anyone had any ideas or services they wish were available in intensive care? I'm going to put ideas forward and then if work try and get them put forward for consideration on most ITU wards.

6 Replies

  • Hi Amy, that's really good of you to help with volunteering. I'm sure your assistance will be much appreciated and it's a good feeling to know you're using your own difficult experiences to help others.

    In the ICU communication with patients is an important issue, particularly while they have a tracheostomy, and also support for relatives. In our experience though, the main issues come after patients leave intensive care. Relocation issues to the general ward and lack of GP understanding when we get home are areas that ICUsteps is aware of and looking to improve but these need healthcare professional involvement.

    Many patients will have little or even no recollection of their time in critical care and only start coming back to a normal state of mind when on the general ward or even later. The isolation we then experience by not having other patients to talk to who understand us and who we can share experiences and coping mechanisms with makes recovery harder. Perhaps in your time on the unit you can find a healthcare professional, possibly a follow-up or outreach nurse who understands this and see if you might be able to work together to start a local support group.

    Do please keep us updated with your efforts as it will help inform and inspire others.

    Good luck and I hope it goes well.


  • Good for you. As a former patient and ICU volunteer I've found many patients, visitors and staff alike find only appreciation for bringing true understanding and empathy to the bedside and quiet areas. I talk/read lips/help write/use iPad with patients, file nails, massage hands and feet, do their hair, hold their sick bowl or hand as well as tell them they are not alone in their angst and vulnerability; that's is normal to feel the way they do, orientate; explain what is behind/around them. I think, because I needed many of those things myself. Oh how I longed for hair washes....

    I restock nurses trolleys with clinical supplies, comfort and escort plus refresh visitors and tell them about the fantastic team and follow up service. Other former patients get involved with admin and patient transfers out of ICU - agreed Peter, sooo important.

    Well done Amy, you will get much personal reward from doing this. There aren't many who can answer "what have you done today to make you feel proud?" X

  • Trachy speaker valves

    iPad communication Ap

    Tangle Teezer hair brush - there is currently one with wings on called 'a brush with an angel'

    Ice machine

    Knock before entering reminders!

    Portable TV with remote and subtitle options

    Silent closing bins!

    Relaxed visiting times

    Rest rooms/accommodation for visitors (my partner travelled around 80 miles everyday for seven weeks when I was a transferred to an ITU in London from our local ICU spending over £500 in parking and who knows what in fuel with restricted visiting times and no where to rest/be close by).

    ...let's not forget the visitors - transport arrangements, have they slept/eaten/hydrated? What support do they have? Would they like to keep a diary for themselves and the patient?

  • What a brilliant thing your going to do. As the wife of a person who sadly died after a month in hospital and three weeks of which was in ICU. I would have been so grateful to have had a bit of support at this worring time. The ITU Staff were obviously busy caring for the patents, so there was nobody for us relatives even when our loved ones died there was nobody available to offer us comfort. I too would gladly volunteer to help with a scheme to offer some much needed support to relatives. Thank you xx

  • Thanks everybody for giving your ideas and suggestions. This is something I feel really passionately about and really am hoping to improve where can. Il keep you all informed with what I'm doing and like said before if anything else pops into your mindplease comment.


  • This sounds like an amazing thing to do. And certainly something I would consider doing one day. Wishing you the best of luck

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