Over the past year, ICUsteps has continued to generate interest in our work and promote the need for additional care and support for intensive care patients and their relatives following discharge from hospital.

Drop-ins at Milton Keynes have continued to provide support for recent intensive care patients and relatives through the year. ICUsteps:MK has now been running drop-ins on a six weekly basis for the past six years and has served as an example of how support groups can help patients recovering from critical illness. In the past year healthcare professionals and ex-patients have come to see the benefits of drop-in sessions for themselves from over a dozen hospitals across the United Kingdom and five across the Netherlands and Germany.

As a result of these visits, initial meetings to establish a core group have taken place for branches in South of Tyne and Cheshire & Mersey with other groups keen to form ICUsteps branches in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Poole, Brighton and Edinburgh.

With the increase in interest in establishing ICUsteps satellite support groups around the UK, work has begun on revising the ICUsteps constitution to better reflect our current work as well as establishing a general constitution for satellite groups to adopt if they wish to become registered charities as well, along with a statement of core principles for groups to sign up to under which they’ll be entitled to use the ICUsteps name and logo.

Interest in critical illness rehabilitation, the patient experience and the work of ICUsteps led to numerous invitations to talk at meetings, conferences and training days during the past year. In total, presentations were given at 14 events up and down the country from Newcastle to Brighton and also to the Annual Congress of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine in Berlin.

Links have been established this past year with the National Outreach Forum with the aim of strengthening both organisations through collaboration wherever possible. Contact has also been established with the UK Sepsis Trust and steps are underway to work with them on improving literature for patients and increasing awareness of the issue.

Usage of the patient information booklet “Intensive Care – A guide for patients and relatives” has increased in the last year with 46 booklet orders received and over 16,000 copies dispatched. Translation of the booklet into other languages has continued. In addition to English, the guide is currently available in seven further languages including Bengali, Punjabi and Urdu. Additional translations into Dutch and Chinese will be available in Q2 2012. Catherine White has initiated the production of information supplements to complement the core booklet on key topics with delirium and physiotherapy documents already complete and available for free download.

Assistance with research has been on-going in the past year including refereeing research proposals, providing patient perspective to research documentation and serving on research steering committees.

Work has continued on the production of our medical training video “Critical illness: The impact and consequences”. The script has been revised after undergoing a consultation period and post-production is due to begin in Q3 of 2012.

The public profile of the patient experience of critical illness was raised through the admission of some high profile patients to intensive care. Following the article by Times columnist David Aaronovich on his own experience, ICUsteps were contacted to participate in a Radio4 programme on the topic and were represented by Gerlinde Mandersloot. A feature on ICU delirium in The Sunday Post featured an interview with Peter Gibb on New Year’s Day.

Website traffic has continued to grow with statistics reporting that in the last year we had 10,256 visits from 7,969 distinct visitors and served 35,599 page views. Further web developments are planned for the coming year.

The coming year will present further challenges and opportunities to expand and support a network of patient support groups around the UK as well as continuing to raise awareness of the need for patient support and rehabilitation following critical illness.

The annual report was approved by the Trustees on 27th May 2012