23/01/2019 | Press releases

New group helping former intensive care patients recover in Ipswich

People recovering from time spent in intensive care at Ipswich Hospital can share their experiences, thoughts and fears at a new, monthly support group.

 

ICU (Intensive Care Unit) Steps is held on the first Wednesday of every month at Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich, between 6pm and 8pm, and brings together patients from all walks of life.

Led by nurses Claire Gray and Tamasin King, the informal, confidential group which meets next on 6 February, is open for people to come and go as they please and share as much or as little information as they like.

Jonathan Jenkyn, 42, from Ipswich, who spent time in intensive care three years ago after suffering a cardiac arrest in his sleep, said: “It is comforting to hear that other people have gone through similar experiences and to understand how their life has changed as a result of being in intensive care.

“We are part of an eco-system so listening to how other people’s families have recovered from such trauma too and being able to impart some of those stories and lessons on to my family is really valuable.

“You don’t have to say much, just listen. I am happy to talk about my entire experience but other people just like to listen and that is OK and can be part of the healing process as well.

“You can share as much or as little as you want with the group, everything is completely confidential, and we are happy to talk about things in a very candid, sympathetic way.”

 

Fellow member Ian Mackay, 62, from Stowmarket, who spent time in intensive care after collapsing in March last year, said: “I have found ICU steps very interesting, it has helped me along the way and has allowed me to understand more what was happening to me in hospital by listening to other people’s experiences.

“If you have spent time in intensive care please come along for a free cup of tea and a biscuit. It will start to make your life an awful lot easier by understanding what other people have gone through. You are not on your own.”

Tamasin King said: “Up to a couple of years ago there was no real follow-up for people after they had been discharged from intensive care and many patients can leave with ongoing psychological issues, so we looked at how we could help them post-discharge.

“I would like people to have more access to rehabilitation psychologically – it’s a huge problem among survivors of a critical illness and hopefully attending ICU Steps can lessen the burden that some people may have long-term.”

Claire Gray said: “I don’t think there is any better way to get support than from listening to someone who has gone through a similar experience.”

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