A variety of safety equipment and monitoring is required but access to natural light has been defined as essential to the well-being of ITU patients.
According to the Intensive Care Society, patients with access to natural light can require less pain relief, have shorter ITU stays and families report less “sadness”.
ICU Matron Alexandre Marques explained to NuringNotes, “A prolonged admission in Intensive Care can lead to both physical and psychological complications, including muscle loss, fatigue, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Having a dedicated outdoor area enables our Intensive Care patients to spend time outside and this provides a wide range of benefits, from mental and physical wellbeing to reduced recovery times and hospital length of stay.
“The positive impact of exposure to fresh air and natural light is supported by observational research and provides a great opportunity for engagement between patients, their families and staff.
Mr Marques added that not only do patients benefit, but relatives and members of ITU staff also find them rewarding. The Intensive Care Society also claims it can also reduce burnout among these nurses.
He explained, “Intensive Care staff also find the experience extremely rewarding, as the majority of our patients have been critically ill and required multiple organ support.
“Watching their recovery and seeing them spend time outside the ICU with their relatives, and even their pets, smiling and enjoying the moment, is exceptionally motivating and very much supported by our specialist multidisciplinary team”.
Pat Smith a former long-term ITU patient at another trust explained, “Looking up at the sky after being stuck inside for months is like being re-born… These nurses have no idea of how much this means to patient and their families”.