An initiative that changes the reality of intensive care unit patients and their families. The "Humanitzant l'UCI" (Humanising the ICU) programme of the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona has received the Tatiana Sisquella award for the best social contribution, chosen by readers because it centres on patients who are going through "the worst moment of their lives". "The patient is the centre, but so is their family, their circumstances and needs", explains ICU nurse Àngela Garcia, one of the people behind the transformation. Opening the doors of the ICU so that patients are accompanied at all times of the day, for example, contributes to their evolution: "We have been able to reduce medication, they are not so agitated, they are not disoriented", continues Garcia (in the image, she appears together with the ICU nursing supervisor, Desirée Ruiz). In addition, she stresses, the anguish of family members, who spent up to 12 hours without seeing the patients, has also disappeared.
"Humanitzar l'UCI" has meant a radical change for the whole structure of this unit, used to working "in a very closed manner, and far from families", corroborates Judith Marín-Corral, an intensive care physician at the Hospital del Mar ICU and also promoter of the program awarded by the ARA. "The goal is not only to save the patient's life, which we obviously have to do, but also to think about their quality of life once they leave", explains Martín-Corral. Addressing the emotional aspects is crucial, as is working in advance with the effects of the aggressive treatments to which patients who spend more time in the ICU are subjected - muscle dysfunction, weakness, confusion.
Despite the fact that the pandemic has forced the programme to stop because hospitals have had to close their doors to visitors, the team at the Hospital del Mar is confident that it will soon recover, and insists that the seed of change has already been planted and has taken root, seeing the good results obtained. In fact, during these months of covid-19 the image of some Hospital del Mar professionals taking a patient outside (in their bunk) to see the sea went around the world. It was not a "whim" nor a banal gesture, the professionals assure. Thinking about emotional well-being beyond the illness when the patient begins to improve is part of a transformation that, despite the current covid-19 restrictions, has come to stay.