Nina Leggett is a senior clinician Physiotherapist and PhD Candidate with the Department of Critical Care at the University of Melbourne. In 2022, she was awarded an ANZ Intensive Care Foundation grant. Her research looked at the follow up and care post ICU because in Australia, ICU survivors return home with little or no follow-up.
International and local research indicates that Intensive Care Unit (ICU) survivors (patients and families) often experience adverse outcomes.
Peer support, which brings survivors together to share experiences, is an emerging intervention to improve post-ICU outcomes. Nina says, “We have recently developed an in-person peer support model, where we engaged both ICU survivors and health professionals using an innovative method called ‘experience-based co-design’. The model has undergone some preliminary pilot testing.
Despite multiple strategies, there were barriers to participants attending the peer support model in-person. Furthermore, the global pandemic required a rapid shift to online models of care that did not require patients to return to hospital for follow-up care.
The grant I was awarded from the Foundation aims to test our peer support model, delivered via a virtual format, so patients do not have to return to hospital. Feasibility of the virtual format will be assessed via participant recruitment rates, attendance rates and participant satisfaction, as well as any impact on disability, psychological and quality of life outcomes. The results of this study will inform a larger, multi-site randomized study of virtual peer support for ICU survivors.