An elderly patient who beat Coronavirus has praised the ImpACT+ Team at UHDB for helping him get back on his feet after he was discharged from Royal Derby Hospital on his eightieth birthday in April.
James Graham, who was discharged from Ward 409 after being treated for COVID-19, says that the jump from being treated in a hospital setting to being at home was quite daunting, but the ImpACT+ Service made this transition far more comfortable.
The ImpACT+ service (Improving Adult Respiratory Care Together) is a multi-disciplinary team made up of respiratory consultants, specialist nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists who offer community support and on-going care and treatment to respiratory patients in the South Derbyshire area.
Mr Graham, who lives in Breaston, said: “I was glad to be discharged from hospital and it certainly was an event with it falling on my birthday, but it’s a hell of a jump from being supported in a ward to being sent home, whether that’s medical or personal support.
Mr Graham, like many other COVID patients, was discharged home knowing that the ImpACT+ Team would be continuing to monitor his condition with home visits and phone calls, as well as giving him breathing exercises and techniques to help him rebuild his lung function.
He added: “When I went home, I was on my own which was rather strange for the first few nights, but the fact that I knew someone was going to be calling or visiting was a huge comfort to me.
“I had contact with them every couple of days just after I came home, whether that be in person or over the phone.
“They’ve kept an eye on my condition, they have checked my blood oxygen levels and given me lots of advice for breathing exercises and on clearing my lungs.
“I was lucky, I didn’t suffer with Coronavirus as severely as others, but it’s thanks to this team that I’ve gradually improved.”
Although he still feels a little breathless, former Rolls-Royce worker Mr Graham says he is now feeling a lot better. During his time in hospital, he lost a stone in weight and is still building up his strength but can now go for walks of up to 45 minutes.
Mr Graham said that his continued recovery is in no small part down to the role of the ImpACT+ service, and considers himself fortunate to benefit from their offering:
“Their role is really important and we’re lucky to have them. I have family members who are medics in another part of the country, and they have nothing like this where they live, so the offering is unique.”
Robin Evans, Clinical Service Manager at ImpACT+, said: “Since the start of the COVID pandemic the service rapidly identified the new challenge of supporting patients who were recovering from COVID and being discharged from hospital, but remained severely deconditioned.
“The service re-structured to develop a Virtual Ward where patients were identified in hospital by the consultant and nurse team. Patients were reviewed the day after discharge in their own home where individualised treatment plans and support services were agreed.
“We also offer a telephone helpline seven days a week and further Wellbeing calls to ensure a rounded medical and psychological recovery for patients. As of 15 June, the service has supported 21 COVID patients via the Virtual Ward.
“It’s fantastic to see Mr Graham doing so well now having been so debilitated initially. In many cases, patients are too breathless to carry out many of their usual activities and now they are able to walk for 30-40 minutes or go out in their car.
“Patients and relatives have really valued being safely discharged home quicker to continue with their treatment in their own home environment.”