A team of frontline staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has been honoured with a double award win.
The Critical Care team, clinched the Clinical Team of the Year and Chairman’s Award in the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Celebrating Success Awards held virtually, earlier this month.
Their success was as a result of a heart-warming nomination describing the incredible level of care within the Intensive Care and High Dependency Units, collectively known as Critical Care, during the COVID pandemic.
Sister Rosie Spencer, who has worked in the department for eight years, said: “So many people did so much and are still doing so much during the COVID pandemic.
“As we were watching the awards ceremony live. We started to think we may win. When Medical Director, Dr Jim Gardner described the team before announcing the winner, we started to feel emotional. We are all very proud to have this recognition. COVID has brought the team even closer together as we have shouldered the hard times together.”
When the COVID hit in 2020 it was only a matter of days before the unit was full. At the time, nobody really knew what to expect. Nobody had dealt with a pandemic of this scale before.
Clinical Matron for Critical Care, Karen Smith, said: “Once visiting was suspended to try and ease the spread of the virus, relationships with patients and families grew closer and virtual visiting was introduced.
“Despite working under immense pressure, the team surpassed all expectations by buying newspapers, toiletries, baking cakes for special birthdays so the patients felt special especially as they were not allowed visitors.”
As days turned into weeks and months, some patients did not recover. Soon the team had to approach difficult conversations about end of life.
Karen added: “Despite the emotional toll, the team’s compassion shone out, holding patients’ hands in theirs whilst virtually comforting relatives. Suffering the torment of hearing a family saying their last goodbyes, feeling like an intruder but promising families their loved one would not die alone.”
The team also ensured that touching mementoes such as locks of hair, handprints and photographs were sent back to families to help them grieve.
Ward Manager for HDU and ITU, Amy Cartmell, said: “Working within this unit for the last 12 years, I have always been immensely proud to be part of the Critical Care family, but the last two years has been another level.
“The strength and commitment shown from every single member of the team has blown me away. This has been the hardest time we have ever faced, and it has made us even stronger than before.
“These memories and emotions will stay with us forever, and the bond within the team will only get stronger. For us to receive these awards, it feels like recognition of hard work and struggle that has been faced behind closed doors.”
You can watch The Critical Care team winning their award and the whole Celebrating Success Awards 2022 ceremony here: https://youtu.be/pciYAZnj9JY
You can also catch up on all the conversation on social media: #BTHCSAwards22