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Website launched supporting patients and families through recovery from COVID-19

The Critical Care Recovery COVID-19 website is a COVID-19-specific adaptation of a widely used, award winning website supporting patients and families during their recovery after Intensive Care.

Life Lines is delighted to announce the launch of  the Critical Care Recovery COVID-19 website. Dr Pam Ramsay, researcher and founder of the Critical Care Recovery website explains how this adapted website supports patients and families through COVID-19 recovery. 

Who is the website for?

It’s primarily for patients who are recovering after an admission to Intensive Care Units (ICU) due to COVID-19, and for their family and friends.

It’s also for health and social care professionals, whom we hope will refer patients and families to the website, as a key source of credible information, advice and support. It will be particularly useful for hospital rehabilitation and ICU follow-up teams, but will also be useful to wider health and social care professionals from the acute hospital and community settings including GPs, social services and community rehabilitation teams.

Importantly, the website can be localized to individual ICUs, Trusts, Health Boards/networks, enabling clinicians to direct patients and families to local support services.

What’s on the website?

The content is centred around the identified needs of patients and family members. There is easily understandable information, advice and support on the physical and psychosocial sequelae of critical illness at each stage of the patient journey: the Intensive Care Unit, ward care, the first few weeks and months after hospital discharge, and longer-term recovery.

Resources include a wealth of patient narratives, UK updates on COVID-19, access to UK patient forums, links to relevant online and community resources (including NHS approved apps for physical and psychological recovery), webcasts from patients and clinicians on key issues, and the ability for patients and families to build a secure, personalised library of content. There is functionality for registered users to permit clinicians to upload content and documents directly into this personalized library.

Accessibility features include its ease of understanding and navigation, simple search options, a read aloud function and importantly, the ability to translate the website’s content into over 100 different languages. This feature in particular will increase accessibility to patients and families who might otherwise be marginalized in the provision of health information.

What are the benefits of this website?

Key benefits include its 24/7 availability via PC, smartphones and mobile devices and reach. More than 15,000 visitors each year access the parent website. An evaluation of the parent website found benefits including improvement of patients’ and families’ understanding of the Intensive Care and recovery experience, and their access to relevant and timely information, advice and support for self-management.

Funding is currently being sought to explore its impact on health-related quality of life, use of health services resource (including readmission to hospital), health literacy and resilience.

How was the website developed?

We acknowledge that there are common aspects of patients’ ICU and recovery experience, regardless of the admitting illness, but that some COVID-related aspects of care, recovery, rehabilitation and support are evolving and may be very different. We therefore included and carefully adapted much of the content from the parent website (which was developed using  more than 120 interviews in over 10 years’ qualitative research, and co-designed with patients and families).  

Evolving multidisciplinary guidelines for post-COVID rehabilitation have been used to guide development, alongside collaboration with frontline clinicians and the UK’s leading Intensive Care patient support charity.

We are hugely grateful to the Life Lines project and to King’s Health Partners for their support in making this website rapidly available to the many thousands of patients and families across the UK who have been affected by a COVID-related critical illness. With their continued support, and in continued collaboration with clinicians, professional groups, patients and families, we aim to make this website a cornerstone of post-COVID Intensive Care rehabilitation and recovery.

- Dr Pam Ramsay, Researcher and founder of School of Health Sciences, University of Dundee, Scotland. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown intensive care recovery and the resources needed to support it into the spotlight. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Dr Ramsay and her team to facilitate this important resource that offers informational support to intensive care patients and their families.

- Professor Louise Rose, Life Lines founder and Professor of Critical Care Nursing, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care, King's College London. 

If you'd like to find out more about the Critical Care Recovery websites, email Dr Pam Ramsay or follow Pam or the website account on Twitter.

Alternatively, if you'd like to know more about Life Lines and the project's involvement with the Critical Care Recovery COVID-19 website, you can email Life Lines or follow Prof Louise Rose and the Life Lines account on Twitter.

Visit the Critical Care Recovery COVID-19 website.