Patients from the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust were invited to a community event with the Nutritional Support Team to share tips on living with intestinal failure. The event was also an opportunity to meet with one of the team’s new clinical psychologists.
Specifically for patients who need artificial nutrition therapy, which involves bypassing normal digestion through delivering nutrients directly into the bloodstream intravenously, the afternoon included talks from patients and an opportunity to get to know each other.
Sheryl Lucey, who requires artificial nutrition therapy, spoke about how she has improved her quality of life by taking practical steps to help ease the stress associated with the condition. Sheryl walked others through the process of working with the Nutrition Support Team to help arrange medication before going on holiday and demonstrated how everyone could continue to live a normal life.
Wellbeing was also in focus, as the Trust becomes one of the first hospitals nationally to include a psychologist in their diverse team, helping to provide integrated and holistic care for every patient.
Dr Abigail Wroe, one of two new clinical psychologists, spoke about how psychology can help to offer care which takes into account both the mental and physical aspects of each individual’s circumstance. She said: “When someone is struggling with a physical condition we need to be aware of how this can impact on someone’s overall wellbeing.
“Patients receiving artificial nutrition therapy sometimes cannot eat or drink, and when we think about how something as simple as sharing a meal is as much a social activity as a natural one, we can quickly see how quality of life may be affected. By working as one with the rest of the Nutritional Support Team, we will be able to provide holistic care which recognises people’s emotional needs at the same time as their physical needs.”
Dr De Silva, the team’s consultant gastroenterologist, told patients and their carers how important this new addition is: “We are already a diverse team, with consultants, nurses, dieticians, pharmacologists and biochemists working together. Having support from psychologists means a step-up in the quality of care we are able to offer our patients. We are all extremely proud that we will be one of the first hospitals to do this.”
Mike Farley, who suffers from intestinal failure, and his wife Sandy, attended the event to meet other patients and to share their experiences. Sandy said: “We really feel like a family thanks to the support that the team provide to both Mike and myself. They are so approachable and responsive whenever we have a problem and, because there are many different professionals, Mike only has to tell his story once.
“A few months ago Mike had an infection and had to go to hospital where the team came to visit him. It was lovely to see familiar faces and to know that there was a team of people there who knew Mike and his condition. We are amazed at how generous the NHS is.”
The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is committed to providing the very best care for patients, supporting both their physical needs and overall wellbeing. The Trust regularly hosts events in the community for patients and the public, promoting the health and wellbeing of the local population.
21 March 2018