Rehabilitation in an ICU environment

Being in critical care is like having a hand grenade thrown into your life say physio staff working in an ICU rehabilitation team in Plymouth

Emily Rich Lead Rehab Physio & Richard Freeman Physio Assistant Practitioner

Rehabilitation in intensive care (ICU) is about more than physical activity. The focus of the ICU rehabilitation team at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust is to try and bring some joy and happiness through rehabilitation when patients’ lives have been turned upside down.

We are small and highly motivated MDT and we believe that part of our success is that we are all dedicated to improving both the service and ourselves. We frequently use Twitter to expand our knowledge base, learn from the wider ICU family as well as sharing ideas and initiatives.

Richard Freeman (physiotherapy assistant practitioner) has played a fundamental role in the team’s progress. Richard worked very closely with the patient experience team to introduce Hovis, our rehabilitation dog, into the ICU environment. Hovis is obviously now the most loved member of the team.

An ICU rehabilitation garden has been created to enable patients to get a breath of fresh air and enjoy natural light. Richard frequently helps the nursing staff to prepare for and complete trips out into the garden, he is also the one most likely to remember to water the plants.

What we love so much about our team is that we have an environment where everyone can freely share ideas for innovation and development. We are all working towards a shared vision that everyone can play a part in rehabilitation.

We recently won the NHS parliamentary award for care and compassion. The nomination was led by two of our local MPs and culminated in an exciting trip to the House of Commons.

We are determined to continue to strive to improve patients’ rehabilitation experiences throughout their journey of recovery. Even the smallest things can make a difference. 

  • Emily Rich is the lead rehab physio and Richard Freeman a physio assistant practitioner

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