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Improving Coronavirus patient experience of intensive care

University of Brighton academics are working with doctors to understand the challenges that Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care experience in communicating with healthcare workers.

The academics have been providing advice on evaluating a flashcard system which supports healthcare staff to communicate vital information to patients through the physical barrier produced by visors, hoods and face masks.

The system, developed by an NHS doctor, will enable healthcare staff to ask coronavirus patients important questions and to share information on what is happening using digital flashcards that can be displayed on a phone, tablet or computer, or simply printed out and laminated.

Dr Mary Darking
Dr Mary Darking

Dr Mary Darking, Director of the University’s Centre for Digital Media Cultures Research was contacted by a National Clinical Lead for Patient Safety and Improvement to ask if she would provide advice on how the use of flashcards could be evaluated.

Dr Darking and Dr Matt Adams, from the University’s School of Applied Social Science, worked on an evaluation design which members of the Anaesthetic Team at Brighton and Sussex Universities NHS Trust will be implementing shortly.

Dr Darking said: “This is frontline NHS innovation at its best. But even under pandemic conditions, it is important to listen to patient experience and understand exactly how improvements in care can be achieved.”

Dr Matt Adams
Dr Matt Adams

Brighton anaesthetist Rachael Grimaldi founded the flashcard system ‘Cardmedic’ while on maternity leave after reading about a Covid-19 patient who was unable to understand healthcare workers through their personal protective equipment.

Cardmedic is currently available in 10 different languages, including Polish and French, and features a “read aloud” option to help those who are with vision impairment or too unwell to read.

The communication cards are free to download on Cardmedic’s website, and have already been accessed by more than 8,000 users in 50 countries.

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