Current visiting times

After suspending visiting earlier in the year, we are now able to offer limited visiting to some wards at the discretion of the nurse in-charge.”

Read more on visiting times...


Messages for loved ones and keeping in touch

We recognise the impact that a long stay in hospital can have on families and the importance of maintaining strong communication.  Our ward staff are keeping in touch with patients’ next of kin directly and our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can help pass on personal messages from family and friends.

Read more information about messages for loved ones…

Current visiting times

After suspending visiting earlier in the year, we are now able to offer limited visiting to some wards at the discretion of the nurse in-charge.”

Read more on visiting times...


Messages for loved ones and keeping in touch

We recognise the impact that a long stay in hospital can have on families and the importance of maintaining strong communication.  Our ward staff are keeping in touch with patients’ next of kin directly and our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can help pass on personal messages from family and friends.

Read more information about messages for loved ones…

During your stay in hospital you will meet a number of different members of staff.  All members of staff wear name badges, but if you are not sure who someone is or what they do, please feel free to ask them to introduce themselves and explain what they do. 

If you have any questions about your treatment, please ask a doctor or a nurse.

There are lots of opportunities for you to get involved with the Trust, from volunteering to attending our public meetings, our Annual General Meeting or our hospital open day which is held every year.

News

Michael Hicks: On the road to recovery

Date: 01 March 2021

Michael Hicks is 35 and lives with his wife and four children. He remembers being at home with them last year and noticing the signs that something was seriously wrong. “Before I came into hospital, I remember not being able to see properly and getting dizzy on standing,” Mike explains. “My daughter has told me that I was delirious and not making sense. I was asleep on the lounge floor, breathing heavily.”

Mike had contracted Covid-19.

After being admitted to Queen Alexandra hospital, Mike was taken to our Respiratory High Care unit (RHC), a specialist part of the hospital where our teams look after patients who are severely unwell with respiratory problems. Mike was receiving oxygen on the ward, but as critical care sister Rebecca Lovelock explains, he was not improving: “Mike’s sats (blood oxygen saturation) were 70% when the ICU team were called to see him.” He was fitted with a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) mask, a form of non-invasive ventilation designed to increase the amount of oxygen in his body even further. “His sats only improved to 80%. In a healthy person, sats are generally above 96%.”  Although Mike was doing slightly better, his sats were still dangerously low — a condition known as hypoxia.

The team knew that for Mike to stand a chance of survival, they would need to move him to critical care and place him on a ventilator, which would require him to be placed under general anaesthetic.

The last thing I remember is having the tight-fitting oxygen mask on (CPAP) and the doctor telling me he was going to put me to sleep.” Amongst all of this, things at one point looked so bad for Mike, that his loved ones were preparing for the worst: “On New Year’s Eve, my wife was told I had one or two days to live.” His condition was rapidly deteriorating.

As Rebecca notes, an extraordinary level of care is required for intubated patients: “He required prone ventilation which means we had to ventilate him with him lying on his tummy in order to improve oxygenation to his lungs. This requires five to seven team members to perform the turns, 16-18 hours on the tummy, six to eight hours on the back.” An experienced ICU nurse was also with Mike 24 hours a day to monitor his breathing, vital signs and to constantly adjust his equipment and medications. The team also had to ensure all of Mike’s nutritional and hygiene needs were met.

During this time, Mike became even more unwell. As a complication of his hypoxia, a kidney transplant that Mike had successfully undergone a few years earlier was now failing. “He needed dialysis,” explains Rebecca, referring to the procedure which removes waste products and excess fluid from the blood when a patient’s kidneys fail. “He also needed medication to support his blood pressure and ventilation in the prone position. He was certainly one of our sickest patients.”

After several weeks of highly intensive treatment, Mike gradually started to improve and the ICU team eventually took the decision to carefully wean him off invasive ventilation and help him breathe on his own again.

“The next thing I remember was the physios sitting me up; I couldn’t hold my head up because I was so weak.”

Mike had been on a ventilator for a total of 70 days.

He is now being guided through an exhausting rehabilitation process and, after an extremely tough start, Mike has turned a corner and come on leaps and bounds. “There came a point where Mike just became more determined to get better and get home to his family,” says Rebecca. “This was a big turning point and he started to improve much more quickly from that point.”

Mike pops outside QA hospital to watch the snow falling in February.

In fact, Mike is making such good progress in his rehabilitation that he was recently able to enjoy his first trip outside in weeks, as the team took him out to the front of the hospital to see the snow just as it started to fall.

When Mike’s able to walk by himself, he’ll be well enough to go home. “I’ve still got to get stronger and learn to stand again; I can’t even open a packet of biscuits” he says, though he is feeling stronger every day. “I’m looking forward to getting home to my family and finally having our Christmas together”. When asked what he’s hoping for, Mike doesn’t miss a beat: “A dartboard.”

Mike’s quite content to have his Christmas at an unusual time of year. He’s concentrating on one thing: “I just can’t wait to see my wife and my kids again and spend time with them.” He pauses slightly.

“It’s been too long.”

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