Intensive care survivors welcome new support group

The ICU (Intensive Care Unit) Steps group is to be held in Ipswich, at Bluebird Lodge, on the first

The ICU (Intensive Care Unit) Steps group is to be held in Ipswich, at Bluebird Lodge, on the first Wednesday of every month. Back row, Claire Gray (left) and Tamasin King. Front row, Ian Mackay (left) and Jonathan Jenkyn. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK AND NORTH ESSEX NHS FOUNDATION TRUST - Credit: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Patients who survived time in an intensive care unit have welcomed a new monthly support group to help others recover from their time in hospital.

Led by nurses Claire Gray and Tamasin King, the informal, confidential ICU Steps group at Ipswich Hospital is held on the first Wednesday of every month at Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich, between 6pm and 8pm.

“Up to a couple of years ago there was no real follow-up for people after they had been discharged from intensive care and many patients can leave with ongoing psychological issues,” said Ms King.

“So we looked at how we could help them post-discharge.

“I would like people to have more access to rehabilitation psychologically – it’s a huge problem among survivors of a critical illness and hopefully attending ICU Steps can lessen the burden that some people may have long-term.”

Jonathan Jenkyn, 42, from Ipswich, who spent time in intensive care three years ago after suffering a cardiac arrest in his sleep, said: “It is comforting to hear that other people have gone through similar experiences and to understand how their life has changed as a result of being in intensive care.

“We are part of an eco-system so listening to how other people’s families have recovered from such trauma too and being able to impart some of those stories and lessons on to my family is really valuable.

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“You don’t have to say much, just listen. I am happy to talk about my entire experience but other people just like to listen and that is OK and can be part of the healing process as well.

“You can share as much or as little as you want with the group, everything is completely confidential, and we are happy to talk about things in a very candid, sympathetic way.”

Fellow member Ian Mackay, 62, from Stowmarket, who spent time in intensive care after collapsing in March last year, said: “I have found ICU steps very interesting, it has helped me along the way and has allowed me to understand more what was happening to me in hospital by listening to other people’s experiences.

“It will start to make your life an awful lot easier by understanding what other people have gone through. You are not on your own.”

Email or visit the ICU Steps website at

Alternatively contact 01473 702800 and speak to the co-ordinator in charge.

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