Our Meetings - What Happens

Maiden Place Community Centre, Maiden Place, Lower Earley, Reading RG6 3HE


Liza Keating  (ICU Consultant)  in one to one discussion with an ex relative The meetings will have short talks from ex-patients/ relatives on their experiences, which you may be able to relate to.


  • There will be a chance to ask questions and have informal chats, whilst having a drink (refreshments provided).
  • We hope to cover issues that affect many of the people who experience ICU, have talks by medical professionals and provide information sheets.
  • Your suggestions of what to include are very welcome.
  • Also attending and giving support will be ICU staff and other relevant healthcare professionals. There are opportunities to get involved in future meetings and help raise awareness of issues that may be affecting them or others (or have in the past). There is no limit to the number of meetings you attend and no pressure put on you to join in any of the discussions.
  • We have set up this group due to the lack of local or nationwide groups and hope to increase levels of knowledge for patients, relatives/carers, medical professionals and the general public.

Liza Ketting and Tim Parke (IC Consultants) present on their experiences of working in IC Victoria Hume performing songs she wrote based on hallucination suffered by patients while in ICU Informal discussions between presenters and attendees
Liza Ketting and Tim Parke (IC Consultants) present on their experiences of working in IC Victoria Hume performing songs she wrote based on hallucination suffered by patients while in ICU Informal discussions between presenters and attendees
Ian Rechner (IC Consultant) presents on patient ventilation  Gaby Meldaikyte (Research  Associate  RSA) presenting of the IC Environment  The mid meeting break provides an opportunity for patients and relatives to share their experiences and discuss them with the clinical staff from the Unit
Ian Rechner (IC Consultant) presents on patient ventilation Gaby Meldaikyte (Research Associate RSA) presenting of the IC Environment Ellie Singer a Reading University study talks with an ex patient during the break.

The mid meeting break provides an opportunity for patients and relatives to share their experiences and discuss them with clinical staff from the Unit,

Dr Tim Parke’s Experience of presenting at his first meeting

Tim PeakeI must confess I was feeling a little anxious as I parked outside the Maiden Earley Community Centre where the ICU support network were meeting. I was already 45 minutes late, and Liza had sent out a couple of texts politely asking my whereabouts. Plus we hadn’t prepared any slides... or anything really. We had decided we would talk about a day in the life of an ICU consultant and take questions. What if there weren’t any? What if they were expecting lots of pictures of equipment and graphs? What if, what if….

Within two seconds of walking in I realised all would be well. Liza was at the front, beaming at me, and I was engulfed by a wave of warmth and gratitude from the patients and their families.

I don’t know how long we all talked for but it flashed past. Patients told us of their experiences and how they were getting on and families greeted us like old friends. We both occasionally do the follow‐up clinic, but this was different. Seeing people who you last saw on a ventilator with their normal clothes on, chatting and laughing with family and other patients is priceless.

Of course, almost everyone there had been through very difficult times and for many there is still a way to go to full recovery. Leaving ICU is only the start of a very long journey. I had always known that in an abstract way but going to the support network made it real – real patients with real families and real stories. To someone who has (so far) never been seriously ill, the courage and resilience shown by the people I met there was humbling. For any staff working in ICU, a profession notorious for burn‐out, this is a hugely positive experience. If you’re wondering if your job is worth it, if you are really making a difference, then visit the ICU Support Network. You won’t want to do anything else!


Comments from people attending the meetings

“It made me feel less on my own; it felt like having a comforting arm around me.”



“As a patient I realised that others had similar experiences; furthermore, my wife was able to relate to others who supported husbands/wives in ICU.”



“The more I come to the groups, the more I get out of them. There’s still a part of me saying ‘you’re fine, you don’t need a support group, you weren’t really that poorly, you don’t have PTSD, you’re fine you just have to get on with things’ then I get there and can’t hide from the truth. It is impossible to explain to friends and family how it feels, probably in the same way I can’t understand what they felt and saw”.



And some words from Dr Carl Waldmann…

The patient and relatives support group has been one of the most important results of the Royal Berkshire Hospital ICU RACI initiatives.

It has provided a vibrant and welcoming forum for any of the patients and relatives that have been associated with our ICU.

It is for the patients and relatives and is run by the patients and relatives.

The group has provided support for new patients and relatives and has provided a wealth of experience for those in ICU to provide a quality improvement of our service.

All the doctors that come and participate can only watch in amazement at the proceedings of the these quarterly meetings, and the content of the lectures delivered by guest presenters is second to none. Long may this group continue and thank you for all the support.


Presentations

6th June 2012 – Jane Faulkner (Senior Physio) and Lucy Kindley (Physio) – Physiotherapy in ICU.

5th Sept 2012 – Dr Carl Waldmann (ICU consultant) – History of ICU and setting up of the RBH Follow-up Clinic.

5th Dec 2012 – Sister Melanie Gager/Snr Staff nurse Sara Evans – Hallucinations talk.

12th June 2013 – Dr Collette Selmer (Consultant Clinical Psychologist) – Coping with anxiety and depression.

4th Sept 2013 – Dr Carl Waldmann, Sister Melanie Gager and SSN Sara Evans – In depth discussion about what the clinic does.

4th Dec 2013 – Songs from Victoria Hume – based upon interviews with patients/relatives/ staff with experience of critical illness and based on their own hallucination experiences.

4th Dec 2013 – Debbie Knibbs (Trainee Clinical Pyschologist) – PTSD in the relatives of Intensive care survivors.

4th Dec 2013 – Sarah Hollings (Degree Student) – Life after Intensive Care: The family caregiver experience.

5th March 2014 – Alice Burney (Senior Physio), Steph (Physio) and Lucy (Physio) – Work of the ICU Physiotherapy team.

4th June 2014 – Lovely Sorianosos (Critical Care SN) and Jane Screen (Critical Care SN) – ICU nurses experiences of delirium hallucinations.

4th Dec 2014 – Dr Tim Parke (ICU Consultant) and Dr Liza Keating (Consultant in Emergency Medicine) – How they became ICU consultants and their personal experiences.

5th March 2015 – Dr Mat Whalley (from Berkshire Traumatic Stress Service) – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

3rd June 2015 – Critical Care Outreach Sister Karin Gerber – Sepsis.

3rd June 2015 – Gabriele Meldaikyte (Research Associate) and Gianpaolo Fusari (Research Lead) – The ICU Environment.

2nd Sept 2015 – Dr Carl Waldmann – History of Rehabiliation after critical illness.

2nd Dec 2015 – Gabriele Meldaikyte and Gianpaolo Fusari – Initial concepts from research into the ICU environment.

2nd Dec 2015 – Dr Ian Rechner (ICU Consultant) – Ventilation machine used in ICU.

Meeting Dates 2017

7th March

6th June

5th September

5th December

Meeting Dates 2018

6th March

5th June

4th September

4th December

Meetings are held from 7:30pm to 9:30pm

Getting there...

Maiden Place Community Centre - Ample free parking and local bus service - bus route-no 21 www.reading-buses.co.uk

Click on Maps link and scroll down and click on claret 21, the nearest bus stop is on Kilnsea Drive (adjacent to Chilcombe Way) and is a 3 minute walk to the centre.

Meetings