The Wellington Aeromedical Retrieval Service transports patients from lower North and upper South Island hospitals who require treatment that is often urgent and available only in Wellington. We are also involved in taking patients to other national centres. Our specialist retrieval team is available 24/7. We use aircraft (aeroplanes and a helicopter) provided by our colleagues at Life Flight and road ambulances from Wellington Free Ambulance Service. We are the busiest retrieval service in New Zealand and carry out over 1000 missions every year.
The Patient At Risk (PAR) service is provided by expert senior nurses who are available 24/7 to respond to sick patients outside of the ICU. They are a key part of the New Zealand Early Warning Score system response team, ensuring that clinical deterioration is recognised and acted upon early. They also visit every patient discharged from ICU to ensure this process has gone smoothly. Patients, family, or whānau can contact the PAR team directly at any time as part of the patient escalation service - Kōrero mai.
The Tracheostomy Review And Management Service (TRAMS) is provided by a group of ICU clinicians led by a Clinical Nurse Specialist. Every patient who has a breathing tube inserted into their neck (a tracheostomy) as part of their ICU care continues to be seen by TRAMS on the ward until the tube can safely be removed. TRAMS are experts in tracheostomy care and will help the ward team in weaning and removing the tube.
Many patients who have been admitted to an ICU have little or no memory of this time. When they have recovered, there will often be questions such as, 'What happened to me?'. To help answer these, our longer stay patients are offered free diaries for their family, whānau & friends to complete. These can include anything from discussions to photos to visitors. A diary will be offered by the bedside nurse or please ask us for one. More information on patient diaries in Wellington ICU can be found below.
Animals have been used to provide comfort and support for those who are ill for hundreds of years. Only recently has their benefit been recognised for children and adults in hospitals.
Since 2018, we have participated in a hospital scheme where specially trained dogs are able to visit patients in Wellington ICU. They are tested regularly to ensure they are disease-free and only visit patients on request. They have provided great comfort to patients, family, whānau and staff over the years.
Please let us know if you think your family member would benefit. Unfortunately due to the nature of the ICU environment, home pets are not allowed to visit except under special circumstances.
Although over 90% of patients admitted to ICU survive their stay, we offer support for the families and whānau of those who do not. Bereavement support is provided by a senior nursing team, to those who have lost a relative in the ICU. There are likely to be questions around what happened, particularly if the loss was sudden or unexpected. More information about the service is available from the link below.