Providing care and comfort to families with loved ones in the Intensive Care Unit
At the RBWH Foundation and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH), we understand there is little to prepare families and friends when a loved one requires intensive care treatment.
As one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest trauma hospitals, the RBWH Intensive Care Unit (ICU) provides care to patients from as far afield as regional and remote Queensland, Northern New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Pacific Rim and international disasters. For those families, anxiety is compounded by additional difficulties, such as finding accommodation close to the hospital, in a city far away from home.
That is why, in consultation with hospital administration, clinicians, nurses, social workers, patients and patient families, the RBWH Foundation has created a family support program callled WeCU.
The WeCU Family Care Program at a glance
Days a week
WeCU concierge staff are available:
8:30am to 9pm
To contact WeCU concierge staff call:
The WeCU concierge service
The RBWH Foundation WeCU concierge staff are trained social work assistants who are available to assist families and loved ones, every day of the week. They are based in the ICU waiting room from 8:45am until 8.30pm. If they have been called away during these hours, they can be contacted on 0499 819 959.
This service, located outside the RBWH ICU:
- helps families become orientated with the ICU environment
- provides information, care and comfort
- facilitates communication with a loved one’s health care team
- facilitates accommodation bookings and access to the Patient Travel subsidy support.
The WeCU concierge staff are generously funded by donations provided to the RBWH Foundation.
Meet Alexa 'Lex' Leary
On July 17, 2021, life for Noosa triathlete Alexa Leary and her family changed in an instant.
Lex suffered life-changing brain injuries in a horrific cycling accident while training on the Sunshine Coast. She spent two weeks in an induced coma in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) and two months in the Neurosurgery Ward.
Lex has had a very successful triathlon career winning a silver medal in the Junior World Titles in Switzerland not long before her accident. Her dream was to represent her country in the Olympics but after the accident found herself in the medal fight of her life to survive and move again.
Lex’s strength and determination inspired #moveforlex - a connection across the community to encourage people to move for those that can’t and an inspired way to help Alexa connect with those supporting her recovery and raise funds for the WeCU Family Care Program.
We know families are frightened and overwhelmed when they come to the ICU. They need information on the condition of their loved one, on where to stay and how to make sense of the complex medical system they are now a part of. Most of all they need to know the staff and volunteers have the time and resources to help them through all of this.
– Angela O’Malia
RBWH Director of Social Work
Further information for families with loved ones in ICU
The RBWH Foundation and Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital have developed information to assist families with loved ones in the ICU, including an information booklet.
Thank you to our extraordinary supporters
The RBWH Foundation has committed $1-million over two years to support WeCU but will require public support to ensure the service can continue. Every donation, large or small, will make difference. Thank you in advance for your kind donation.