07 Jul 2020

The Intensive Care Society Launches Wellbeing and Resilience through Education (WARE) Project

The Intensive Care Society is delighted to announce that Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Dr Julie Highfield, has joined our team as National Project Director for Wellbeing and will be leading on our Wellbeing and Resilience through Education Project.

2020 is a year that none of us will forget in our lifetimes. As an intensive care community, we have faced one of the worst pandemics in history and although the wave of cases maybe declining right now, the fight is far from over.

Nothing could prepare intensive care for what was to come and as the wave of coronavirus continued to hit us day in and day out, our community stood strong and battled against it. However, this has come at a cost, both emotionally and psychologically. 

As we start to see a decline in cases and lock down restrictions ease (for now), we are left with the impacts of COVID-19, both for us personally and throughout our teams. Now, many of our community are left exhausted, with little left to give and perhaps still trying to process what they have been through.

The Society’s WARE project will provide a systematic approach across the nation to understand the different needs of our community and develop tailored and integrated psychological support and approaches for teams. Work is well underway to lay the foundations of this project and over the next few weeks we will be engaging with stakeholders and the community to engage with the needs of their staff. We are offering short term access to trained psychologists with experience of ICU and acute medical settings to provide psychological therapies to our intensive care community.

For us this isn’t just about the here and now, it is about ensuring that these services are embedded into ICUs. Therefore, we are offering a framework & baseline business case to your Trust or Health Charity to enable units to develop in house professional psychology posts for services for staff and patients and have a small capacity to pump prime posts. We invite you to contact us for further information if you are looking to develop such a post.

We will be offering training and a system of governance so that nominated staff in your units can develop into Peer Supporter roles. These Peer Supporters will be trained to provide informal but informed support, signpost to resources and link to professional psychological help where needed. Invitations to apply to this programme will open in due course.

We will be working to find the best wellbeing-based resources and self-help materials for you to use freely and running regular webinars and a podcast series called Journey to Work. Experience and the evidence base tells us, that wellbeing at work is not just about the individual, it is about how the workplace is configured, and the attitude and approaches of leaders. Over time we hope to extend out training to help critical care units improve their systems, and to support leaders. We hope that with you we can develop the best way of monitoring team health so you can identify the needs of your team. We will also underpin our wellbeing work with research. Using evidence-based data will help us better understand the wellbeing needs of our community and how we can best apply them back in to ICUs.

Being well at work is everyone’s responsibility, but we in the Intensive Care Society want to help and support you to do the very best that you can to recover from the pandemic and sustain into the future.


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