A series of short films created by Barts Health cardiologist Professor David Wald are helping families to understand how their loved ones are treated for Covid-19 in intensive care.
The animations, which are available through the award winning Explain my Procedure website, reveal, in simple terms, what goes on in an intensive care unit or ICU, from the role of staff to common treatments such as mechanical ventilation and a tracheostomy.
The films are just a few minutes long and have been translated from English into a number of common languages, including Turkish, Polish, Hindi and Bengali.
Barts Health is one of the first trusts across the country to put the videos into practice, which are being made available for free to intensive care units across the UK for the duration of the second wave of the pandemic.
Professor Wald said: “The pandemic has placed restrictions on face-to-face visiting, which often leaves families feeling uniformed, anxious and detached.
“These animations will help to bridge the gap by explaining, in non-technical language, what happens in ICU, reassuring family and friends and, crucially, saving time for staff who are already incredibly stretched.”
Dr Julia Hadley, a consultant in intensive care medicine at The Royal London Hospital said: “This is an extremely valuable resource which we are very excited to share with the families and friends of patients on the unit.
“At a time when they are unable to visit, it should really help their understanding of a range of aspects of critical care.
“Looking beyond the pandemic, these animations have great potential to help increase the public’s understanding of what goes on in this part of the hospital.”
Explainmyprocedure.com features short animations on a range of medical interventions such as cardiology, orthopaedic and general surgery.
It has shown to substantially improve understanding among patients, before they consent to medical and surgical procedures.
The website won the HSJ Award for Digitising Patient Services in 2019 and the BMJ Award for Digital Innovation Team of the Year in 2020.
The latest project demystifying the intensive care unit is supported by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and endorsed by the Intensive Care Society.