A Staffordshire patient who survived critical illness after being cared for at University Hospital of North Midlands has shared their experience at the UK's inaugural Critical Care and Rehabilitation Conference. More than 100 healthcare professionals attended the conference, organised by clinicians at UHNM, in October 2019 and saw a variety of speakers such as critical care rehabilitation coordinators and speech and language therapists, showcasing the importance of a joined up multidisciplinary team approach in helping patient's recover. Dr Carl Waldmann, a pioneer in establishing and running critical care follow up clinics also addressed the conference.
Patient Julie Gimblett, from Newcastle-under-Lyme shared her experience after being rushed into Royal Stoke University Hospital with sepsis in December 2015. She was placed in a coma in critical care, where she spent the next 30 days. The 54-year-old HR manager said: "After having bariatric surgery in a private hospital I was in a lot of pain with constant fatigue and high temperature. After a few days of not feeling right and then passing out I was rushed to hospital and induced into a coma for 21 days.
"While I was in critical care I had kidney dialysis, four blood transfusions, lung draining, multiple endoscopies, CT scans, x-rays and physiotherapy. Throughout this time the staff were really supportive from the nurses to the tea lady, especially over Christmas.
"The team on the unit were amazing and I have given my feedback about what could be improved, such as counselling, mobile device charging for loved ones and advice on financial support when out of work."
Dr Ram Matsa, Consultant in Intensive Care and Acute Medicine said: "We have thoroughly enjoyed putting together this conference and are extremely grateful to all the speakers who have given up their time to support us.
"A particular highlight to this year's conference was the presence of our past patient as a survivor of critical illness. The insights into their experiences are invaluable to any critical care team looking to deliver a patient centred service. We are hugely grateful to them for giving up their time to join us. With their feedback we have improved upon the care we provide and will continue to do so."
He added: "This was the first time such a conference has been held in this country. We are proud to say that we have the infrastructure and the provision to organise something like this."