Critical care and follow-up clinics

Critical care and follow-up clinics

We provide critical care services at Newham, The Royal London, St Bartholomew's and Whipps Cross hospitals. 

Critical care at The Royal London Hospital

The Adult Critical Care Unit (ACCU) provides high dependency and intensive care services to patients on wards 4E and 4F of the Royal London Hospital. Our patients are among the sickest in the hospital.

Patients in the critical care unit need a lot of input from nurses, doctors, therapists, pharmacists, and other specialists. They may be attached to various machines to help their organs to function. A lot of tasks are required to look after them and many are sedated and appear asleep for their own comfort and so that we can better look after them.

What to expect

We will contact patients’ next of kin by telephone when they are admitted to the ACCU. We will provide a brief update on their condition and arrange the first in person visit. You will be provided with the direct line telephone number to the bed space.

A member of our Family Liaison and Support Team (FLST) will be in touch as soon as possible to provide some further information, guidance and support.

Visiting the unit

We welcome visitors to the unit, however visits should be arranged in advance.  

Our patients are vulnerable, at risk of infection and often exhausted by their condition and treatment. Our patients require a lot of attention from staff to keep them safe and to keep their treatment on course.  For these reasons, we have to control numbers of visitors to the unit and limit the length of visits.

We allow two visitors per patient for two hours and slots can be booked between 2pm and 4pm. The bedside nurse will arrange visiting times with you. Please note that we do not generally allow children under the age of 12 to visit the ACCU.

Sometimes we might ask you to leave early or for a short period during your visit so that we can provide care and some interventions (such as scans, procedures, or operations) cannot be rescheduled around visits. We will try to let you know if any are planned.

The seating area by the lifts is available for you to use just before your visit or if you need to leave briefly during a visit. Please do not bring other people to the hospital and please leave the building after your visit.

There is a restaurant open to the public on the 5th floor, where you can buy tea, coffee and food.

We will discuss special circumstances with you for specific patients. In some instances, more visiting may be appropriate and in others, less visiting would be safer. Such instances include:

  • Patients with infectious diseases, such as Covid-19
  • Patients with learning disabilities
  • Patients under 18 years of age.

How to find us

The ACCU is located on wards 4E and 4F. Take one of the lifts in lift core 5 to the 4th floor which will bring you to the ACCU waiting area. Please aim to arrive at the time of your visit.

Updates

We aim to keep relatives updated about the progress of their loved one’s care, however due the amount of care our patients need we may not be able to provide large amounts of detail over the phone.  We will tell you about any major developments in your relative’s condition or treatment as they happen.

Please nominate one member of the family to act as a point of contact for updates.  You can telephone the bedside number for an update once a day; afternoons are a better time to do this.  Please avoid telephoning repeatedly; if your call is not answered it will be because the nurse is busy with a patient.  Please wait 30 minutes before trying again.

It can be distressing and upsetting to have a loved one in critical care.  If you feel you need emotional help and support, please let the nurse know when you next visit in person.

Contact numbers

You will be given the telephone number for your relative’s bedside.

The telephone numbers for the reception desks are 020 359 40410 (4E) and 020 359 42256 (4F). Note these desks are not always staffed.

Visits should be arranged with the nurses looking after your relative.  For further support or special arrangements, please speak to our Family Liaison and Support Team on 07710 066906.

Family Liaison and Support Team

The ACCU Family Liaison and Support Team is there to support relatives and visitors on the unit. We can give you information to help you understand the care we are providing, as well as support and guidance to help you cope with what will be a new and frightening experience for many. Our team includes specialist nurses and psychologists with expertise in this area. They are there to help you.

Critical care follow-up clinics

Our clinics 

Information for clinicians

Resources

Our clinics

The critical care follow-up service aims to support patients and their relatives following critical illness. While many patients make a good recovery following critical illness, some experience on-going health problems.

These can include physical symptoms such as:

  • weakness and joint problems
  • breathlessness
  • pain
  • sexual dysfunction
  • scar problems
  • sleep difficulties

Some patients experience psychological complications such as:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • post-traumatic stress
  • impaired memory, concentration and multi-tasking

These can impact on:

  • employment and return to work, school or study
  • finances and income
  • personal relationships
  • social interactions

Patients seen in the critical care follow-up clinic are offered a range of support to help with these problems, in conjunction with services available locally to the patient.

St Bartholomew's Hospital

Clinics are held on Tuesday mornings in the main outpatients Department in KGV building. Patients being seen in other specialist clinics may still benefit from attending the critical care follow-up clinic if they are experiencing difficulties specific to their time in intensive care.

We offer support from healthcare professionals who understand what patients and their families have been through and provide a point of contact during recovery, which may take many months or, sometimes, even years. Patients and their relatives will be seen by a critical care consultant and/or therapist or nurse, and may also be seen by a psychologist depending on their needs. 

We also offer patients and their relatives a structured return visit to the critical care unit, which often helps them “come to terms” with what happened while they were critically ill. Further visits to the intensive care unit can be scheduled as required.

  • Follow-up telephone call: For patients who cannot or do not wish to attend in person, it is usually possible to schedule a telephone discussion with one of the team.
  • Self-referral: If you would like more information or feel that you would benefit from coming to the clinic, please ask a member of the inpatient team caring for you, or contact us by email or call 07899 995 159

"Knowledgeable and helpful. Thank you for following me up and having the time and patience to hear my story!"
- patient feedback for St Bartholomew's critical care service

The Royal London Hospital

The Adult Critical Care Unit (ACCU) follow up clinic is for patients who stayed for longer than 3 days on wards 4E and 4F at The Royal London Hospital. These wards are also known as the high dependency unit and intensive care. Patients who have been in critical care for 3 days or more will receive a letter inviting them to attend the clinic, but you can also invite yourself by contacting us via email or calling us on 020 359 40346. 

The clinic aims to see patients within 6 months of discharge from critical care and runs every first Thursday of each month during the morning. The clinic is staffed by a critical care consultant, a clinical psychologist and senior nurses. At the clinic you'll have the opportunity to :

  • Discuss your critical illness, the treatment we gave you and we can review your progress
  • Ask us questions about your time in critical care or advice on how to keep your progress going
  • We may be able to show you some of the images from medical scans of your body. If you want to, you can also visit the ward
  • Tell us how you feel about your critical care stay

If we feel that you need further support, we will either refer you to those services or give you contact details of the services which you can contact yourself.

In 2019, 97% of patients told us they were satisfied or very satisfied with the care on our critical care ward. In the same year, 97% of patients told us that the follow up clinic was beneficial or very beneficial to them and their family.

Information for clinicians

St Bartholomew's Hospital

Follow-up is indicated for adults who were in a critical care unit for more than 5 days and are considered at risk of developing PICS (post-intensive care syndrome) because of pre-existing health condition (in the physical, cognitive, psychological or physiological domain) or because of a lengthy and complicated critical care stay.

Many of the complications mentioned above might manifest at a later stage after the patient has returned home. Two to three months after discharge from critical care, a review to reassess health and social care needs ensures that any new physical or non-physical problems are identified and further support is arranged as needed.

The St Bartholomew's critical care follow-up service is offered to patients, and their families, who have received critical care in one of the designated critical care units (wards 1C, 1D, 1E and 6A) at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. This includes both inpatients and patients after discharge from hospital to the community.

If you would like any further information about our service, or to refer a patient, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Royal London Hospital

Prolonged critical care stay can be associated with physical, psychological and cognitive complications. At The Royal London hospital we offer an outpatient follow up clinic which allows us to identify signs and symptoms of PICS (post intensive care syndrome), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and provide or signpost to support as needed.

Clinicians may refer patients by emailing us or calling 020 359 40346.

Resources

Shape your story

We are looking for nurses to work with us in critical care.

Find out more