The benefit to patients of being cared for by healthy and happy hospital staff has been recognised with a national wellbeing award to the Intensive Care, anaesthesia and operating theatre staff team at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust.
The team won the Intensive Care Society’s Welfare and Wellbeing Award at its annual 2021 awards ceremony for prioritising staff welfare and wellbeing in the workplace.
Dr Fiona Kelly, consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, said: “I’m really very proud of our team as there were numerous applications and wellbeing has been such a key focus of ICUs around the UK this year. It’s great to be recognised in this way.
“We set up an ICU wellbeing team at the start of the pandemic, to provide immediate support for the staff and to provide on-going support for all staff as a positive legacy from the pandemic. It is well known that organisations that prioritise staff wellbeing provide higher quality patient care, see higher levels of patient satisfaction and are better able to retain the workforce they need. So we aimed to build a team able to provide the very best care for our patients, their families and friends.”
The wellbeing team was multidisciplinary, including representation from ICU, anaesthetics, operating theatres and the Post Anaesthesia Care Unit to reflect the large numbers of redeployed staff in ICU and the collaborative working practices during the pandemic. This included doctors and ICU/theatre nurses of all grades, plus Operating Theatre Practitioners, a physiotherapist, pharmacist and three clinical psychologists.
Wellbeing strategies were put in place, including an expanded Trauma Risk Management system, dedicated clinical psychologist time for staff, and a new Team Immediate Meet tool for use by staff following a critical event.
A ‘Quiet Room’ for staff was opened on ICU, and reclining chairs and blackout blinds introduced in handover rooms and offices for staff breaks. The team even began ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ dog walks, virtual coffee meetings and yoga sessions.
RUH Chief Executive Cara Charles-Barks tweeted: “So very proud of our ICU Wellbeing Team for winning this national award in recognition of their amazing work. Well-deserved recognition for their brilliant programme.”
Dr Kelly said: “Winning this award is a huge honour. We’ve learned such lot about the importance of staff health and wellbeing during the pandemic, and we hope that many of our findings and strategies could be transferable and helpful in many other critical care and hospital settings.”