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ICU Follow-Up Clinic providing wide ranging multidisciplinary approach to care of Covid-19 patients

9th November 2020

Critical illness and treatment in Intensive Care can have long lasting effects on patients, both physically and psychologically, and there has been a long recognised need for holistic follow-up.  The Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need to provide this service leading to the ‘Belfast Trust ICU Follow-Up Clinic’ which was established in July 2020.

Patients who have received treatment in ICU can have a range of complications that may occur post discharge. Therefore, the clinic consists of a wide-ranging multi-disciplinary team including ICU Nurses and Doctors, Clinical Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Dieticians, Pharmacists, and Speech and Language Therapists.

Patients are reviewed six weeks after their hospital discharge, which currently takes place virtually. This is invaluable in allowing the multidisciplinary team to work collaboratively to plan, gather data and share assessments. Patients are then reviewed twelve weeks after discharge in an outpatient setting and assessed by the entire team in a ‘one stop shop’.

Dr. Rosalind O’Reilly commented: “We had huge engagement with this service with 98% of patients attending. We identified many needs in our patients; the need for ongoing psychological support, requirement for community or specialist physiotherapy, medical needs, and medications requiring alteration, dietetic issues as well as issues with speech and swallowing.”

“Most importantly we gathered feedback from our patients and this was overwhelmingly positive. It has helped so many patients cope with and understand their stay in ICU. It also enabled them to receive holistic care in the space of one hospital appointment and they found great benefit from all members of the Multi-disciplinary team.”

“As we are in the midst of a second wave, we are preparing to offer this service again, in the newly refurbished Rathlin on the Knockbracken site. We will continue to learn from patient feedback and experiences, and hope to establish this as a much needed permanent service in the Belfast Trust.”