Just over 2 years ago I was admitted to ICU so critically ill it was thought I would not survive but after 3 months and some amazing work done by ICU staff, I was discharged to a ward for a further 2 weeks finally going home on the 30th March 2011.
I vowed that I would never forget these wonderful people that saved my life and somehow I would repay them for never giving up in trying to save my life even when things looked bad.
In late 2011 I returned to ICU for a visit and was asked if I would talk to a patient who was having a difficult time after 2 months there, I offered understanding of what he was going through, which made me think that many more people must be going through the same thing with little or no support.
I spoke to my niece who works in the ICU about starting a support group for patients and relatives. As she was just going on maternity she passed it on to the unit sister to help set up, in early 2012 we had our first support group drop-in meeting.
Throughout 2012 our group grew, getting interest from the hospital and local NHS Critical Care Network with people becoming aware of how traumatic a stay in ICU can be, at our last meeting of the year we had 14 people attend, we've also help bring change for patients still in ICU with the kind donation of £1000 from an ICU consultant to buy a tablet PC with a speaking app and other visual aids for patients with a tracheotomy.
We also joined ICUsteps as a local group we are now ICUsteps Hastings.
2013 has started well for the group, we have just been notified that we going to receive National Lottery Funding via Hastings Trust to allow us to start a community service for ex-patients that need support when first leaving ICU.
Today I also heard a local school is also going to donate to our group fund.
I now feel I'm am giving something back and with the support of others we can only make it better for all ICU patients & relatives.