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Royal Gwent nurses run support group for patients discharged from ICU

Intensive care nurses at the Royal Gwent Hospital are running support groups for patients after they leave the intensive care unit (ICU).

Recovery after leaving ICU can take up to two years, according to nurses.

The group is run by volunteers and staff and aims to provide emotional support through conversation and advice from medical staff and other patients.

ICU Steps Newport was the first support group of its kind in Wales. Groups have now been set up in Cardiff and Abergavenny following its success.

Sian now
Sian suffered from hallucinations and said she thought the ICU staff were trying to kill her.

Sian, from Newport, was in intensive care for 6 weeks after going into hospital with a split bowel.

She suffered from delirium, hallucinations, and disjointed memories.

But she says ICU Steps Newport has given her a second chance at life.

She said: “I don’t remember a lot of it, the delusions played a big part, my mobility was affected, I couldn’t walk, do anything for myself really.

“I thought the staff were trying to kill me, which is normal from speaking to other people.

Sian in hospital
Sian said the support made her feel ‘normal’ again.

Sian now experiences tiredness very easily and relies on a walking frame to get around, but said said the support has been “so important” to her.

“I couldn’t have done it on my own, it has changed my outlook to everything.

“It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, I’ve made friends, and makes you feel normal.”

Support group

The ICU nurses said coming to the support group reminds the patients they are not alone.

They feel as if they’ve been dumped. To come to the support group is paramount because very often they feel very alone.

To see them coming back, walking through the door, give a massive hug. It means the world, they don’t understand it takes up to two years to get over a critical illness, they’re impatient, they’re not kind to themselves, but they need to be.

– CATH BLAMIRE, DEPUTY SISTER, ROYAL GWENT ICU

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