Human compassion is an essential trait for staff members of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where every day they help patients and their loved ones through some difficult and distressing periods of their lives. Over the past year, the team at the ICU have been working to bring more compassion to their care, through the Humanisation Project.
The aim of the project is to bring more human kindness to care, by seeing each patient as a person with individual needs that need supporting. These needs may be beyond clinical car but are just as important to the patient and their recovery. Humanisation embraces the importance of family. One of the first changes implemented by the team, therefore, was to introduce 24-hour access for families and carers. This means that one nominated carer or family member signs a contract to be able to access the 24/7 non-restricted entry to the unit and participate fully with their loved ones care needs.
Staff members at the ICU recognise that the simple sight of a sunset, or the sea, can make a huge difference to how a person feels and incorporate this into patients’ care plans where possible. Healing walks also play an important role in recovery, when patients are able to do so. The team have also taken advanced communications training to help them during important conversations with patients or their families.
While patients are admitted at the ICU, staff members complete diaries for their patients so that patients can look back and better understand what they went through while they were in a critical condition. When patients have recovered, the team also organise follow-up clinics for them and their loved ones, so they can talk through their experience and see the unit, helping them to come to terms with a traumatic period in their life. Every member clinical team, including medical, nursing, administrative and domestic staff, have signed up to the project and are playing their part.
The GHA Director General, Dr Patrick Geoghegan, said: “I am very proud of all our staff at the Intensive Care Unit for introducing this Humanisation project locally. This project was initiated shortly before the pandemic began and had to be restricted due to the Public Health advice at the time. I am now pleased to see this in full-swing once more and I have no doubt it will benefit both our patients and their families tremendously.”