During the pandemic, when critical care units were under enormous pressure, we funded a pilot project to help some of the hospital’s sickest patients. Thanks to generous donations from King's College Hospital Charity supporters and a charitable grant from NHS Charities Together, the first King's multidisciplinary psychosocial team was formed, providing vital support for patients in the critical care unit (CCU).
Comprising a consultant psychiatrist, two clinical psychologists, a social worker and a support worker, the team is the first of its kind in the UK. They began taking referrals from King’s critical care department in June 2021 to provide psychological, psychiatric and social work support to patients.
The team has made such a positive impact that they have now become a permanent fixture within the Trust, ensuring their vital work can continue long into the future.
Dr Christian Williams, lead clinical psychologist, spoke of the positive response the team has received from staff, patients and families, as well as the challenges of adapting traditional psychosocial interventions to suit the rapidly changing world of a critical care team:
By the end of March 2023, the team had received 1,802 inpatient referrals, mainly patients and families seeking emotional support in the most challenging circumstances. The multidisciplinary nature of the team means many of the factors that can delay discharge or increase the risk of readmission can be addressed. This includes safeguarding complications, homelessness, psychiatric assessment, and medication reviews.
Thanks to our funding, King’s College Hospital is now the unique position of being able to pave the way for psychosocial support for critical care patients and their families, improve their experience, and better long-term outcomes.