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24 November 2021

Beyond Leeds: supporting our first 50 patients at Aintree

by Berenice Bradley

Day one photo2 landscape

Berenice Bradley is a Day One Trauma Support caseworker based at the Major Trauma Centre (MTC) at Aintree University Hospital. The centre treats severely injured patients from across Cheshire, Merseyside and the Isle of Man, and recently partnered with Day One so we can offer practical and emotional support to people coping with life-changing injuries.
Here, Berenice, who is also a registered general nurse, shares her experiences of her first few months supporting patients on the Major Trauma Ward.

Part of the major trauma team

It's been 12 weeks since I joined the Major Trauma team on Ward 2 at Aintree University Hospital and already it's been action packed. Literally from day one, there was a buzz within the clinical team about the collaboration between the Aintree Major Trauma team and Day One Trauma Support. I have been welcomed into the hub of the team and have hit the ground running by supporting patients and families alongside my clinical colleagues.

My initial time was spent meeting the different members of the team and sharing with them the scope of support Day One offers patients and families, alongside their clinical care. I’ve built some lasting relationships and they understand how I can assist them to provide the best possible support and recovery for their patients.

“The service Berenice is providing is fantastic. She has already significantly supported several patients and their relatives with additional non-clinical aspects of their rehab that we previously could not have provided.”

Simon Scott, Clinical Director for Major Trauma at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

I attend the Major Trauma meetings in the morning and then accompany the clinical team on ward rounds to identify patients that could benefit from Day One support. We never share patient information, but I can say that most injuries so far have been sustained during road traffic collisions, which is expected as over half of all major traumatic injuries in the UK are because of crashes. Other common causes are industrial or farming accidents, sporting accidents, assaults, falls from height and self-harm. The feedback that I’ve received so far has been really positive, from clinicians and patients alike, and I feel like I am already making a real difference.

002 The first landing on Aintree Hospitals new 1m helipad

Supporting patients and loved ones

As a Day One caseworker, the time I spend with patients varies depending on the number and severity of their injuries. The clinical team continue to make me aware of the patients they feel may benefit from Day One support as soon as possible. I’m on the ward two days a week. During my first 12 weeks I’ve supported 50 patients and loved ones; people who have suffered life-changing injuries and who would not benefit from this non-clinical, essential support without Day One.

Once I have introduced myself to a patient or family member, I am able to work with them to provide the most appropriate support they need. As with most trauma patients, lifestyle and home issues take a back seat when they are dealing with lots of investigations, treatments and recovery. But the pressures of everyday life (mortgages, childcare, employment) along with issues related to traumatic incidents, such as financial and legal issues, can be a real worry. Being on the ward means that I’m able to relieve some of the burden by identifying and coordinating the support they need. This can range from free, no obligation legal advice, emergency financial support and advice about the short- and long-term costs associated with injury, to advice on accessing welfare benefits, peer support from someone who has had similar experiences and counselling for families.

“We have some complex patients with complex needs. Berenice is interacting with these patients and their families, sign-posting and supporting them at a really difficult time, including liaising with the Home Office.”

Vanessa Lownsbrough, Ward Manager, Aintree Major Trauma Ward

I have spent a lot of time with the major trauma nurse coordinators who work closely with the medical staff and ward staff. While the team on the Major Trauma Ward will work hard to ensure the care of all patients is exemplary, trauma nurse coordinators are off the ward dealing with trauma calls in A&E.

One of the trauma nurse coordinators explained to me that the most rewarding part of their job is seeing the progress former patients have made months or years after suffering a major trauma and recovering against the odds. Often, people who have suffered life-changing injuries visit the ward on their way to an outpatient appointment, just to say hello to the staff. This is the greatest reward they get and spurs them on to continue doing their job by offering the best care possible to all patients.

In the weeks ahead I hope to share more insights from my time on the Major Trauma Ward and gain more insight into the staff members that make up this amazing team.

To find out how Day One can support you, or start working in your area, contact us.

We are expanding to other Major Trauma Centres over the coming months and rely on donations to make this happen. You can support our work in Aintree and beyond by making a donation today

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