Brighton doctor improving care for critically ill Covid patients  

Brighton doctor improving care around the world for critically ill Covid patients

Inspired by the experience of a critically ill patient with COVID-19 a Brighton doctor has created an innovative and simple new resource which is improving patient care. And just three weeks after its launch ‘Cardmedic’ is already being used in 50 countries across the world.

Dr Rachael Grimaldi, an anaesthetist at The Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH), was moved by a news article on a critically ill patient. The patient described his terror when he couldn’t understand what healthcare staff were saying to him through their personal protective equipment (face masks, visors and hoods).

At home on maternity leave and frustrated at not being able to help on the frontline, Rachael quickly got to work on a series of flashcards with key messages. Within 72 hours the clinician developed a free online resource in 10 languages and a read-aloud option for partially sighted or blind patients.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (the trust which runs RSCH) and Western Sussex Hospitals were the first trusts to use Cardmedic following its launch earlier this month. It is now being used at other NHS trusts and by more than 8,000 people in the UK and abroad.

Rachael said: “It was such a simple idea I couldn’t believe it wasn’t already out there. The flashcards can be used digitally on smart phones, tablets or desktops, or printed and laminated, to really support staff and patient communications. They also play a huge part in breaking down the PPE barrier and in reducing patients fear and anxiety when they are on a ventilator and cannot speak.”

Cardmedic, which is now going to be promoted to the World Health Organisation, was created with support from colleagues at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals.

Rachael said: “Colleagues from so many departments have helped me get this off the ground, including staff from Critical Care, the Emergency Department, Palliative Care and Maternity. We now have an A-Z of topics written in simple language and are working on improving accessibility by integrating British Sign Language videos and illustrations. We have also launched a free app.”

Dr George Findlay, managing director at BSUH, said: “Rachael’s idea is incredibly effective. The speed with which she has got this off the ground and the support she has received from colleagues is really impressive.

“BSUH is full of staff with energy and innovation and Rachael and Cardmedic are a wonderful example of this. I am delighted to see the impact this is making to the experience of some of the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients, not just in our Trust but around the world.”