Expansion in state of the art critical care facilities at NNUH
Patients are set to benefit from an increase in critical care facilities at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as an expansion in the critical care complex takes place.
The expansion, which will be phased, will see an additional eight high dependency unit (HDU) beds added to current facilities at the hospital and fully operational by the end of February 2018, marking a 40% increase in capacity.
Patients may receive care within the Critical Care Complex (CCC) at NNUH if they are seriously ill requiring intensive treatment and close monitoring, or if they are having major surgery and intensive care can help them to recover. Around 1600 patients utilise the facilities on the unit each year and numbers of patients requiring this type of treatment are increasing each year.
Over the past two winters, an expansion of facilities has been tested with an extension into a dedicated area of theatre recovery. This has evidenced a strong demand for expanded facilities, with positive impacts on both patient experience and planned operations.
Dr Tim Leary, Service Director for Critical Care at NNUH explains: “This expansion in our facilities will help to reinforce our resilience, ensuring we can treat fluctuating numbers of emergency cases whilst elective surgery goes ahead as planned.
“We know that coming into hospital for an operation can be an anxious time for patients. Through this new initiative we’ll be doing everything we can to ensure that as far as possible operations go ahead as planned even when we are seeing large numbers of emergency patients who must be treated immediately.”
The additional critical care facility will be situated within Gissing Ward. The ward’s proximity to the critical care complex means that it is in a prime position to become an extension of the unit. The new beds will predominantly care for surgical elective patients requiring HDU care following surgery.
The new unit will feature the latest equipment and technology to support the care of critically ill patients.
“We’ve had the luxury of being able to design the new unit from the floor upwards,” says Dr Leary, “starting with a blank canvas and building in everything that we know we need to provide state of the art care for those who are acutely unwell.
“We’ve added integrated showers for patients on the unit to use and designed an environment which will support patients in their recovery from what are often very traumatic experiences.”
Part of the new unit has also been allocated as a dedicated critical care teaching area, specifically designed around the elective surgical patient. This area will provide an in-situ simulation suite for training doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.
A portion of the teaching space will be set up to mirror a patient bed space, making the simulation of real-life situations on the unit much easier.
Dr Suhas Kumar, Trust Simulation Lead and Critical Care Consultant at NNUH, adds: “There is evidence to suggest that the effectiveness of learning is enhanced by providing this kind of training right here in the unit.
“The training environment mirrors the one you would find yourself in during a critical scenario on the unit and this helps us in developing key skills necessary in managing complex critically ill patients. The new simulation bay will also provide an open and engaging space for our expert teams to develop team working and human factors.”
The Critical Care team will also be expanding in terms of medical and nursing staff to lead the extended unit.
Charlotte Sebastian, Sister for the Critical Care Complex at NNUH, said: “This is a really exciting time for our team on the unit. Expanding our capacity to be able to care for more patients in modern and comfortable surroundings is a great development and staff are looking forward to utilising the new training facilities to further develop their skills.”
Mark Davies, NNUH Chief Executive said: “We’re delighted to be expanding our critical care facilities at NNUH. This is a key stage in the pathways of many patients needing treatment in our hospital and these developments ensure we remain at the forefront of care provision in this specialty.
“The establishment of a training space on the unit highlights our commitment to investing in teaching, ensuring our highly skilled staff are supported in developing their expertise, placing simulation as an integral part of the modality of learning.”